News RSShttp://contact.org.ukEmployment news for young disabled peopleThe Minister for Disabled People recently announced a new incentive scheme that will be available for young disabled people. It is a wage incentive plan that offers employers up to £2,275 for employing young disabled people through Work Choice. It will be available from July 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/employment-news-for-young-disabled-people/Tackling disability hate crime - Learning Disability Week 18-24 JuneThis year’s Learning Disability Week will continue the work of Learning Disability week 2011, which saw the launch of the ‘Stand by me’ campaign against disability hate crime.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tackling-disability-hate-crime-learning-disability-week-18-24-june/Contact a Family at LGA conference to raise awareness of our know-how in local service delivery and improvementContact a Family is part of the Family Room an alliance of sixteen leading family sector organisations. We are part of this alliance to ensure the issues facing families with disabled children are included in the wider public policy debates affecting all families and children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-lga-conference-to-raise-awareness-of-our-know-how-in-local-service-delivery-and-improvement/Contact a Family response to child poverty figuresIn response to the government's publication of child poverty figures today, Srabani Sen Chief Executive of Contact a Family, said: "Although today's child poverty figures show that targets have been missed, progress had been made through targeting of tax credits and benefits over the last 10 years. Recently announced changes to benefits and cuts to services puts that progress in jeopardy."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-response-to-child-poverty-figures/End the Care Crisis for disabled peopleIn a recent survey by Contact a Family, 37 per cent of parents with disabled children said ‘Care for my child in the future’ is a top 5 issue. This is why Contact a Family is part of the Care & Support Alliance, campaigning to End the Care Crisis.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/end-the-care-crisis-for-disabled-people/Free training from the Challenging Behaviour FoundationThe Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) has been awarded funding to offer free training workshops to the first 25 special needs schools to sign up. The funding also covers subsidised workshops (at one third of the actual cost) for up to 75 special needs schools before the end of March 2013. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-training-from-the-challenging-behaviour-foundation/Fathers of disabled children battling to be involved tooIt’s Father’s day this weekend and we thought what better time to highlight some of the issues that dads feel and experience.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/fathers-of-disabled-children-battling-to-be-involved-too/Kidz South – Free exhibition for parentsThursday 14 June 2012 Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading, RG1 8EQ Run by charity Disabled Living, Kidz South is one of the largest free UK exhibitions totally dedicated to children and young adults with disabilities and special needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/kidz-south-–-free-exhibition-for-parents/Counting the costs – our new research finds one in seven working families with disabled children are going without foodPoverty widespread in 2012 Families with disabled children are going without essentials and spiralling into debt, even before the full impact of planned benefit cuts is felt. Contact a Family's Counting the Costs 2012 survey shows that for those in jobs one in seven (14%) is missing meals and one in six (17%) cannot afford to heat their homes. And for families not in work due to their caring responsibilities almost a quarter (24%) is going without food and a third (32%) without heating. 58% of all families fear their financial situation will worsen in the next year - up 15% since 2010. The majority (73%) cited welfare reforms as the main reason for their fear.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/counting-the-costs-–-our-new-research-finds-one-in-seven-working-families-with-disabled-children-are-going-without-food/Take action against persistent poverty experienced by families with disabled children across the UKFollowing the launch of our Counting the Costs 2012 report, we are urging everyone shocked at our survey findings to take action by writing to their MP and/or local councillors with the urgent call to exempt families with disabled children from cuts to vital financial support. Counting the Costs 2012,in line with findings from 2008 and 2010, shows going without essentials and getting into debt to pay for food, heating and clothes is the norm for most families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/take-action-against-persistent-poverty-experienced-by-families-with-disabled-children-across-the-uk/Contact a Family’s response to the government’s publication of the SEN Green Paper next steps in EnglandThe Department for Education has today published their progress and next steps on the SEN Green Paper - Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-response-to-the-governments-publication-of-the-sen-green-paper-next-steps-in-england/Three quarters of families with disabled children feel so isolated that it has caused anxiety, depression and breakdownOur new report, ‘Forgotten Families’ shows social, emotional and financial isolation causes almost three quarters (72%) of families with disabled children to experience poor mental health such as anxiety, depression or breakdown. Almost half (49%) reported feeling so unwell- they have asked their GP for medication or to see a counsellor.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/three-quarters-of-families-with-disabled-children-feel-so-isolated-that-it-has-caused-anxiety-depression-and-breakdown/Contact a Family’s SEN National Advice Service deals with parents’ top worry and proves its worth in first six monthsNearly 2,600 people who care for children with SEN or additional needs got in touch with Contact a Family’s new SEN National Advice Service in its first six months (November 2011 – May 2012) to get advice and information about their child’s education. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-sen-national-advice-service-deals-with-parents-top-worry-and-proves-its-worth-in-first-six-months/New online resources to help inform families about the experience of taking part in clinical trialsDIPEx is a registered charity and works with the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford. A new section of the healthtalkonline website contains interviews with parents talking about how they found out about trials, why they decided to take part, or why they did not take part. DIPEx does not accept funding from drug companies or have commercial advertising on the site.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-online-resources-to-help-inform-families-about-the-experience-of-taking-part-in-clinical-trials/Universal Credit draft regulations: a call for evidence The government recently published (15 June 2012) draft regulations (or rules) for the Universal Credit, a new benefit that will be introduced from October 2013. We have put together a briefing on our initial concerns and questions which we have sent to the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You can submit your views on the draft rules until 27 July 2012 directly to the committee or to us for inclusion in our full response. If you need advice about the benefits system please ring our helpline on 0808 808 3555 http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-draft-regulations-a-call-for-evidence/Housing Benefit and the extra bedrooms testDoes your child need their own bedroom because of a disability? Do you get Housing Benefit? A recent Court of Appeal decision has held that the criteria used by local authorities for assessing how many bedrooms are needed when claiming housing benefit is discriminatory as it does not take into account the needs of people with disabilities. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have recently issued new guidance for local authorities in relation to the Court of Appeal decision while they try to appeal against the decision. If the DWP are successful, it means the rules will probably stay as they are now. However, if they fail in their attempt to appeal, it could lead to some families getting more Housing Benefit. You may need to take action now so read on for more information or call our freephone helpline for advice.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/news-on-housing-benefit-and-extra-bedrooms/Consultation on Blue Badge scheme in EnglandThe Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on who is eligible for the Blue Badge Scheme when Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This consultation covers arrangements in England only and runs until 2 October 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/consultation-on-blue-badge-scheme-in-england/40 per cent surveyed think special educational needs and disability reform will 'make things worse'Campaigners call for greater focus on disabled children with social care and health needs The Every Disabled Child Matters campaign (EDCM) has today (Thursday 12 July) published the results of a survey on the Government's proposals to reform the special educational needs (SEN) and disability system. 85 per cent of respondents were parents or carers of disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/40-per-cent-surveyed-think-special-educational-needs-and-disability-reform-will-make-things-worse/Consultation on ‘children in need’ across England and WalesThe government in England has launched a consultation on revised statutory guidance for safeguarding. The three documents for consultation replace the current statutory guidance. This includes Managing individual cases: the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families which proposes replacing nationally prescribed timescales for assessments with local frameworks. The consultation closes on 4 September 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/consultation-on-children-in-need-across-england-and-wales/Commission on childcare in England: call for evidence The Prime Minister has announced a commission on childcare for England led by Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families, and Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People. The commission is now seeking views.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/commission-on-childcare-in-england-call-for-evidence/Government responds to equality watchdog’s enquiry into disability hate crimeThe government has published its response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on disability related harassment: Hidden in Plain Sight.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-responds-to-equality-watchdogs-enquiry-into-disability-hate-crime/Advice and guidance on transition for young blind peopleThe RNIB have launched a new young people’s section on their website for blind and partially sighted young people on all stages of transition from school, college, university and into employment. This may be helpful to both young people and their parents when going through the transition process. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/advice-and-guidance-on-transition-for-young-blind-people/Over 420 Changing Places toilets ready across the UKThere are now over 420 Changing Places toilets in the UK thanks to the Changing Places Consortium’s campaign to open up a more accessible world of possibilities to disabled people when out and about. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/over-420-changing-places-toilets-ready-across-the-uk/New support for disabled young people to get into paid employmentTwo recent announcements by the government aim to expand support and opportunities for young disabled job seekers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-support-for-disabled-young-people-to-get-into-paid-employment/New report recommending improvements in children and young people’s health careA new report has been published that outlines important recommendations to improve health care for children and young people in the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-recommending-improvements-in-children-and-young-peoples-healthcare/Wheelchair waiting times in Wales – services improve for disabled children and young people. A report published this week by the Welsh Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee shows that waiting times for wheelchair services have substantially improved for children, but not for adults in Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/wheelchair-waiting-times-in-wales-–-services-improve-for-disabled-children-and-young-people/Major champion of disability rights dies Lord Morris of Manchester, a major champion of disability rights and widely recognised as the politician who did more for disabled people than any other British politician, has died aged 84. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/major-champion-of-disability-rights-dies/Moving on well – a transition resource pack is tried and testedA report and resource pack has been recently published based on the findings of a year-long pilot project. It's relevant for any professional interested in improving transition and raising the aspirations and achievements of young disabled peoplehttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/moving-on-well-–-a-transition-resource-pack-is-tried-and-tested/Our Olympic Big Day Out - 250 families go for gold!Over 250 disabled children and their families from across London will get the chance to play Olympic champion for the day when they attend Contact a Family’s Olympic Big Day Out at Dulwich College on Saturday 18 August.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/250-disabled-children-and-their-families-go-for-gold-at-contact-a-familys-olympic-big-day-out/Many young disabled people locked out of property sectorThe Locked Out report is the result of a survey of 200 young disabled people across the UK. It reveals that many believe that the property sector and independent living services regularly fail to deliver a good or efficient service for them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/many-young-disabled-people-locked-out-of-the-property-sector/Dads from the North East help UK fathers with disabled childrenDads from the North East have played a vital role helping other fathers with disabled children get the practical and emotional support and advice they might need. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dads-from-the-north-east-help-uk-fathers-with-disabled-children/Has your child benefited from a medical research trial?The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) aim to see an increase in medical research to find out the best treatments for children and young people. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/has-your-child-benefited-from-a-medical-research-trial/Big success for our Olympic Big Day Out!On Saturday 18 August, we held our biggest summer event of the year with over 300 families attending to take part in Olympic sporting activities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-success-for-our-olympic-big-day-out!/Inspire your children into sporting activitiesThe London 2012 Paralympic Games begin next week on 29 August, and it is hoped that these games will inspire more children and young people to take up sports. In order to promote this there is a new resource out called Doing Sport Differently written by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/inspire-your-children-into-sporting-activities/Consultation on help toward housing costsThe government is seeking views on the Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) guidance that the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) provides to local authorities. The current guidance is being updated following changes in welfare benefits such as the introduction of Universal Credit and changes to Council Tax Benefit from April 2013.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/consultation-on-help-toward-housing-costs/Going for gold for Contact a FamilyAfter the success of our Olympic Big Day Out a small team of Contact a Family staff members have begun their Gold Challenge to raise funds for families with disabled children. Our Goldstars team have challenged themselves to raise over £1000 by competing in five Olympic and Paralympic sports challenges before the end of the year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/going-for-gold-for-contact-a-family/Independent careers guidance to be offered in schools in EnglandFrom September 2012, all schools in England must offer pupils in years 9 to 11 independent careers guidance. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/independent-careers-guidance-to-be-offered-in-schools/English government starts the legal process towards new SEN laws The government for England has today published draft legislation on the reform of provision for children and young people with special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-commits-to-new-sen-laws/Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for children and young people in EnglandIt has been announced that a project to strengthen child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) will be extended within England. The project Children and young people’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies has had £22 million invested in it already and the extension will allow the service to move into two new geographical areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/improving-access-to-psychological-therapies-for-children-and-young-people-in-england/Two-year-olds with SEN amongst those to benefit from free childcare under government proposalsThe government in England is currently consulting on the second phase of expansion of free childcare from 2014. The consultation is focused on which groups of two year olds should benefit from the policy.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/two-year-olds-with-sen-amongst-those-to-benefit-from-free-childcare-under-government-proposals/Sleep deprivation for families of disabled children under-recognised says Family Fund The Family Fund charity helps many families on low incomes and raising a disabled child. They recently surveyed their network of local advisors who visit families needing their help.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sleep-deprivation-for-families-for-families-of-disabled-children-under-recognised-says-family-fund/The Paralympics have started!We’re all excited about the start of the Paralympics at Contact a Family. Come and join our Facebook discussion - also find out more about our very own Goldstars!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-paralympics-have-started!/New edition of 'A checklist for parents in Northern Ireland' Read our 'checklist' now and make sure you and your family are getting all the help you and your family are entitled to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-edition-of-a-checklist-for-parents-in-northern-ireland-out-now/Breaks for carers of disabled children (Wales) - best practice guidance The Welsh government has published best practice guidance for local authorities on short breaks regulations which came into force on 28 June 2012.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/breaks-for-carers-of-disabled-children-(wales)-best-practice-guidance/Education select committee to scrutinise new SEN legislation provisions in Englandhttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/education-select-committee-to-scrutinise-new-sen-legislation-provisions/New teacher scholarships in England include SEN support staff for first timeSchools Minister Nick Gibb has announced there will be more than 650 new recipients of teacher scholarships in England– which includes special education needs (SEN) support staff for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-teacher-scholarships-include-sen-support-staff-for-first-time/'Better Breaks' magazine - the role of short breaks in transitionBetter Breaks magazine focuses on 'Becoming an adult': the role of short breaks in transition and the move to independent living.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/better-breaks-magazine-the-role-of-short-breaks-in-transition/Disabled young people invited to have their say on special educational needs reformYoung people with special education needs (SEN) and disabilities are being asked to share their experience and give feedback to government on the newly proposed SEN and Disability green paper reform programme in England. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-young-people-invited-to-have-their-say-on-special-educational-need-reforms/Free online workshops for busy parents during National Work-Life weekNational Work-Life Week begins on Monday 24 September. For the whole week Reflexion Association, is offering free online advisory workshops – so take an hour out one day and tune in. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-online-workshops-for-busy-working-parents-during-national-work-life-week/Whizz-Kidz to identify hopes of ‘Generation Inspired?’ in Paralympic legacy consultationWheelchair and mobility charity Whizz-Kidz are calling on young disabled people to tell them about their hopes for the legacy of the Paralympics, and asking whether they are a generation inspired at the close of the Games.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/whizz-kidz-to-identify-hopes-of-generation-inspired-in-paralympic-legacy-consultation/Help us evaluate the effectiveness of our workContact a Family is conducting a survey to gain people’s views on the online and helpline services we offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-evaluate-the-effectiveness-of-our-work/Does your child have a rare condition? Have your say about care coordinatorsIf your child has a rare disorder, Rare Disease UK (RDUK) is looking for your views on care coordinators. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/does-your-child-have-a-rare-condition-have-your-say-about-care-coordinators/Contact a Family at the Lib Dem conferenceContact a Family, as ever, is going to the three main political party conferences and is using every opportunity to raise issues that matter to families with disabled children. Srabani Sen CEO of Contact a Family shares her impressions of the first of these - the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-lib-dem-conference/Free key working training for multi-agency staff, parents and young people across EnglandEarly Support is offering free key working training for multi-agency staff, parents and young people in England. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-key-working-training-for-multi-agency-staff-parents-and-young-people-across-england/Contact a Family at the Lib Dem conference - day twoAs part of our series of reports from this year’s political party conferences, Srabani Sen Contact a Family CEO, reports from day two of the Lib Dem conference in Brighton. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-lib-dem-conference-day-two/Contact a Family at the Lib Dem conference - day threeIn the last instalment of her reports from the Lib Dem conference, Chief Executive Srabani Sen talks poverty and education. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-the-lib-dem-conference-day-three/Day one: Contact a Family at the Labour party conference As part of her tour of the political party conferences, Srabani Sen CEO of Contact a Family reports on day one of the Labour party conference. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/day-one-at-labour-party-conference/Contact a Family at the Labour party conference - day twoSrabani Sen, CEO of Contact a Family reports from day two of the Labour party conference in Manchester.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-ceo-reports-from-day-two-at-labour-party-conference/Family challenges unfair benefit rule affecting children in hospital – judge’s decision could impact on hundreds of UK familiesA decision made by an appeal judge in the next couple of weeks could have implications for families heavily involved in their child’s care during long periods of time in hospital or another medical setting.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/family-challenges-unfair-benefit-rule-affecting-children-in-hospital-–-judges-decision-could-impact-on-hundreds-of-uk-families/Day three of the Labour party conferenceAs part of a series of reports from the political party conferences Srabani Sen, CEO of Contact a Family, comments on the last day of the Labour party conference and reflects on how families with disabled children figure in the politicial discussion. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/day-three-at-the-labour-party-conference/Listen to highlights from our Olympic Big Day Out! Over 300 families attended our summer event the Olympic Big Day Out. It was a fun day of sporting activities for families with disabled children who are involved with our offices across London. A fantastic day was had by staff, volunteers, families and everyone involved! Listen to our podcast from the Big Olympic Day Out and if you're a parent, find out the benefits of attending events like these.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/listen-to-highlights-from-our-big-olympic-day-out/Cuts to educational provision for 16-18 year olds with disabilities/special needs in EnglandURGENT – Please write to your MP. Contact a Family is supporting SCARF a parent-led charity based in the New Forest, Hampshire about cuts to educational provision for 16-18 year olds with disabilities/special needs. SCARF is calling on parent carer groups and forums to write to their MP about a parliamentary debate on this issue taking place on October 22 2012 at 10pm. Please read the following letter from SCARF that explains it all. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cuts-to-educational-provision-for-16-18-years-with-disabilities-and-special-educational-needs/A report from day one of the Conservative party conferenceSrabani Sen CEO of Contact a Family reports from day one of the Conservative party conference. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-report-from-day-one-of-the-conservative-party-conference/Contact a Family at day two of the Conservative party conferenceContact a Family CEO Srabani Sen reports from day two of the Conservative party conference. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-day-two-of-the-conservative-party-conference/Srabani Sen reports from final day of Conservative conference In the last of her series of articles, Srabani Sen CEO of Contact a Family reports from the last day of Conservative party conference in Birmingham.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/srabani-sen-reports-from-final-day-of-conservative-conference/New reports on transition in Northern IrelandTwo new reports from Northern Ireland Children's Commissioner and the parent carers' Post-19 Lobby Group on the transition process in Northern Ireland lifts the lid on families' experiences.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-on-transition-in-northern-ireland/Financial help to stay warm at home this winterWith the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, we talked to Helpline ManagerJesslyn Parkes to find out about discount schemes that may help you and you family stay warm this winter. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-eligible-for-help-to-stay-warm-at-home-this-winter/Contact a Family gives evidence to help improve SEN systemRead about Contact a Family's submission to the Education Select Committee on the proposed reform of provision for children and young people with special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-submits-evidence-to-the-education-select-committee-to-help-ensure-draft-legislation-improves-current-sen-system/An essential checklist for parents on money mattersOur benefits expert, Derek Sinclair, has revised our popular checklist of benefits, grants and other financial help you may be able to get if you are the parent of a disabled child in England, Wales or Scotland. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/an-essential-checklist-for-parents-money-matters/ Stop the DLA Takeaway campaign - we need your help!Contact a Family and The Children’s Trust, Tadworth would like to hear from parents and carers of children who spend long periods in hospital. The charities are asking families to fill out a short survey which could provide vital information to strengthen our Stop the DLA Takeaway campaign.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-campaign-needs-your-help!/New report says thousands could lose out under Universal CreditA report published today by the Children’s Society, Citizens Advice and Disability Rights UK says that up to half a million disabled people and their families stand to lose out under the government's proposed Universal Credit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-says-up-to-half-a-million-disabled-people-and-their-families-could-lose-out-under-universal-credit/Join our team at the London Marathon 2013!This is it. The world's biggest fundraising event! Join our Contact a Family team and have a wonderful day soaking up the electric atmosphere of cheering crowds. Bask in the glory of running 26.2 miles whilst knowing you have made a tremendous difference to our work with families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-running-team-at-the-london-marathon-2013/New report voices concerns of young disabled peopleA new report from the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign, which is jointly run by Contact a Family and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), has raised concerns about the impact reforms to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will have on the ability of young disabled people aged 16-25 to establish independent living.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-voices-concerns-of-young-disabled-people/Act Now: Changes to Council Tax Benefit in EnglandAct now – local authorities must make families with disabled children a protected group under local council tax reduction schemes.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/act-now-changes-to-council-tax-benefit-in-england/Are you up for the Santa 5K challenge?Get into the Christmas spirit and join Contact a Family on Sunday 9 December for this fun-filled event. Set in Greenwich Village, the spirit of this 5K or 10K run is 'taking part' not 'winning' so you can run, jog or walk - you decide! http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-up-for-the-santa-5k-challenge/Celebrate Parents' Week 22-28 OctoberIt's national Parents’ Week - a week to celebrate the fantastic contribution parents make to their children's lives. We're highlighting Parents' Week by throwing a spotlight on some of the local and national services we can offer parents looking after a disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/celebrate-parenting-week-22-28th-october/Disability harassment report welcomedThe Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has this week published a follow up to their Hidden In Plain Sight report about disability-related harassment.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disability-harassment-report-welcomed/Help make a right decision in benefit appeals casesDo you have a disability? Do you care for or work with a disabled person? From 29 November apply for one of 300 judicial office holder posts available across Britain to help judges make the right decision in benefits appeal cases.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-judges-make-right-decisions-in-benefit-appeals-cases/Advice on applying for your child's secondary school in EnglandAre you applying for secondary schools for your son or daughter? Or are you thinking about it for next year? We asked Jill Davies our SEN expert, for some tips which may help you. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/advice-on-applying-for-your-childs-secondary-school/Panorama: Contact a Family response Contact a Family is sure that everyone will be worried that 19 out of the 51 patients moved from Winterbourne View care home have then been the subject of ‘safeguarding alerts’, as reported in last night’s BBC Panorama programme. It will be particularly frightening for parents, already anxious about what happens to their disabled child when they move into adult services. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/panorama-contact-a-family-response/Act now to protect families from council tax benefits cut Contact a Family is calling on all councils in England and Wales to protect families with disabled children from imminent cuts to Council Tax Benefit. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/act-now-to-protect-families-from-council-tax-benefits-cut/Get your Christmas cards here!With Christmas only eight weeks away, here’s your chance to purchase some Christmas cards from us with 100 per cent of proceedings going straight to help us continue to provide high quality advice and information services to families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-your-christmas-cards-here!/Come and meet Contact a Family at Kidz up North! 29 November 2012, Reebok Stadium, Bolton The 'Kidz' exhibitions, run by charity Disabled Living, are free exhibitions dedicated to children with disabilities and special needs, their parents and carers and the professionals who work with them. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/come-and-meet-contact-a-family-at-kidz-up-north!/Need help with fuel costs this Christmas?If you’re struggling with the cost of keeping your family warm this winter, our helpline advisers have put together some web pages that may help you. Our new pages ‘Help with fuel bills’ under our ‘Know your rights’ section covers the financial help you may qualify for, the steps you can take to keep fuel bills low and your rights around disconnection and fuel debt. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/need-help-with-fuel-costs-this-christmas/Has your child been unofficially excluded from school?Contact a Family needs help from parent carers in England and Wales to find out more about unofficial exclusions of children from school, including how widespread they are and how this type of exclusion can impact on family life.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/has-your-child-been-unofficially-excluded-from-school/Workshops for parents on sleep and behaviour problemsAs part of our project that aims to strengthen children’s centres, Contact a Family will be holding workshops on sleep and behaviour problems for parents of disabled children in Stratford, IIford, Chorley and Morecambe throughout November.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/workshops-for-parents-on-behaviour-and-sleep-problems/ A massive thank you to our volunteer parent representativesContact a Family’s volunteer parent representative scheme has been running for 15 years and last year helped over 5,000 families. This weekend we are holding our annual volunteer parent representative conference to celebrate the work of our fabulous volunteers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-massive-thank-you-to-our-volunteer-parent-representatives/Is your child being bullied? Read our guide to help deal with itAbout a third of calls to our SEN National Advice Service are about bullying. To mark the start of National Anti-Bullying Week (19-23 November), we're highlighting our guide for dealing with bullying for parents of disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-being-bullied-read-our-guide-to-help-deal-with-it/What can you do if your child is being bullied? As part of Anti-Bullying week we asked Jill Davies our special educational needs (SEN) parent adviser to explain what you can do if you think your child is being bullied.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/what-can-you-do-if-your-child-is-being-bullied/Contact a Family response to Work and Pensions Select Committee report on Universal Credit implementationToday the Work and Pensions Select Committee has published a report into the implementation of Universal Credit, which highlights some of Contact a Family's concerns about the new monthly benefit. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-response-to-work-and-pensions-select-committee-report-on-universal-credit-implementation/The Big Give-double your donation this Christmas!Donations made through our page on the Big Give's website from 10am on Thursday 6 December until midnight 9 December will be doubled instantly! Please double your support to families with disabled children this Christmas at no extra cost to you. Donating couldn't be easier...http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give-double-your-donation-to-contact-a-family-this-christmas/It’s Disability History Month! Are you involved?UK Disability History Month runs from 22 November-22 December. This year's theme is 'Changing Lives, Changing Times, Challenging the Ideas that Lead to Hate Crime'. It aims to explore the changing attitudes to disabled people through the decades, celebrate how far we have come and continue to raise awareness of disability equality and hate crime that is still very much needed.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/its-disability-history-month!-are-you-involved/How local authorities and parents can work together Over the last couple of years, local authorities have had to make tough decisions on how and where to make savings. As local authorities in England begin to consult their communities on their budgets for next year, one thing is clear-cutting back further on services for families with disabled children will mean more financial hardship, isolation and poorer outcomes. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-local-authorities-and-parents-can-work-together/The Big Give countdown begins....3 days to go!The Big Give is fast approaching so please help us support families with disabled children this Christmas and donate to Contact a Family between Thursday 6 December and Sunday 9 December at and your donation will be doubled instantly at no extra cost to you! Contact a Family understands that families need invaluable leisure time and fun family days. This helps parents recharge their batteries and share experiences with others in the same situation and children to have fun with their friends.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give-countdown-3-days-to-go!/The Big Give countdown: 2 days to go!With only two days to go, The Big Give is giving Contact a Family the great opportunity of doubling every donation, thanks to a very generous supporter. Donate between Thursday 6 December and Sunday 9 December through The Big Give and your donation will be doubled instantly at no extra cost to you!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give-countdown-2-days-to-go!/The Big Give countdown - one day to go!Tomorrow will see the start of The Big Give challenge. All donations made to Contact a Family via The Big Give from 10.00am on Thursday 6 December to midnight each day until 9 December will be doubled instantly! There's a daily limit to the donations that will be matched so please support us by donating as early as possible through The Big Give website.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give-countdown-1-day-to-go!/Contact a Family’s response to the government’s Autumn Statement Contact a Family’s response to the government’s Autumn Statement announced today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-response-to-the-governments-financial-plans-announced-today/The Big Give - a massive thank you!We really appreciate all the support we received this year with the Big Give Challenge 2012. In just four days and thanks to our wonderful supporters, we reached our target and received an incredible £4522.50 that will help us continue supporting families with disabled children this Christmas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give-a-massive-thanks!/Contact a Family’s response to final detail of Universal CreditYesterday (Monday 10 December) the government published full details of Universal Credit, the new single monthly benefits payment, which will affect many families with disabled children across the UK. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-response-to-final-detail-of-universal-credit/Huge rise in number of unpaid family carersHuge rise in number of unpaid family carershttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/huge-rise-in-number-of-unpaid-family-carers/Our Chrismas stars appeal - help us reach more families! Did you know that one in seven families with disabled children are going without food? We're launching our Christmas appeal to help us support more of these and other families like them. We need you to help us raise awareness of our work - send us a message of support this Christmas through our Facebook page and tell us how we've helped you or 'like' our page.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-christmas-appeal-help-us-reach-more-families!/Have your say on adult social care reform in England The Westminster government is planning to change the laws about adult social care. It will do this through the draft care and support bill. A committee of MPs and peers is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny into this draft bill and the policies it seeks to implement. The joint committee has today (Friday 14 December) invited interested organisations and individuals to send written submissions by 11 January 2013 as part of the inquiry.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-your-say-on-adult-social-care-reform-in-england/Help us reach more families of disabled children this Christmas!Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But it can also be difficult - stressful and costly. It's a time for families and it's a time when families with disabled children need even more support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-reach-more-families-of-disabled-children!/Contact a Family welcomes Education Select Committee report on SEN reformsContact a Family welcomes Education Select Committee report published today on the government’s proposed SEN reforms.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-welcomes-education-select-committee-report-on-sen-reforms/Do you want to find accurate information on mental health issues?The Royal College of Psychiatrists has recently updated their factsheets on a number of mental health conditions. They have a range of information suitable for parents/carers, including information on OCD, soiling, bullying and visiting Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/do-you-want-to-find-accurate-information-on-mental-health-issues/Contact a Family urges MPs to vote against benefits squeeze Contact a Family urges MPs to vote against benefits squeeze. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-urges-mps-to-vote-against-benefits-squeeze/Are you making a primary school application?If your child is due to start school in September 2013, you'll be applying for a school now. 15 January is the deadline for you to send in your admission form. If your child has a statement, you won't need to fill in this form as there is a different procedure. However, you should still fill in the form even if you are hoping your child may get a statement or if they are going through the process of statutory assessment to decide if they need one.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-making-a-primary-school-application/Does your child have autism? Do you have questions about their education?Are you a parent or carer of a child with Autism? Do you have questions around getting the right support for them in school? If so you can take part in an online Q&A event on 16 January between 8-9pm. Jill Davies, Special Educational Needs (SEN) adviser and manager of our SEN National Advice Service here at Contact a Family, will be taking part. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/does-your-child-have-autism-do-you-have-questions-on-their-education/Are you a health professional? Find out how we can helpIf you’re a health professional, find out how we can help you to support disabled children and their families. Check our web pages to find out more.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-a-health-professional-find-out-how-we-can-help/Housing benefit debates will shine light on ‘discriminatory’ rule due to affect families with disabled childrenContact a Family welcomes parliamentary debates which will shine a light on the 'discriminatory' rule to due affect families with disabled children in April.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/housing-benefit-and-bedroom-tax-debates-will-shine-light-on-discriminatory-rule-due-to-affect-families-with-disabled-children/New edition of 'Understanding your child’s behaviour' is out now.It is important to tackle issues with your child’s behaviour early and look for strategies to manage them. In this guide, you'll find tips on how to understand and communicate better with your child, how to help your child with their behaviour, and people and organisations who can support you and your family. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-new-edition-of-our-popular-guide-understanding-your-childs-behaviour-is-here/Helping make GP surgeries more welcoming for disabled childrenContact a Family has published two new guides for GPs to help increase their understanding of the specialist services that disabled children access and to make their practices more welcoming for them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/helping-make-gp-surgeries-more-welcoming-for-disabled-children/Only a few places left for the London Marathon - join our team now!The date-21 April. The time-9:45am. The place-London. This is it - the world's biggest fundraising event! Join our Contact a Family London Marathon team and have a wonderful day soaking up the electric atmosphere of the cheering crowds and basking in the glory of running 26.2 miles, whilst knowing you have made a tremendous difference to our work with families with disabled children!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/only-a-few-places-left-for-the-london-marathon!-join-our-team!/Government publishes long awaited Children and Families Bill This morning the government published the long awaited Children and Families Bill which will introduce major changes to services for disabled children and their families in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-publishes-long-awaited-children-and-families-bill/Does your child have a SEN statement ? Are they making the move from primary to secondary school?If your son or daughter is in their last year of primary school (year 6), their statement will need to be changed to say which secondary school they will go to from September. The law says that your child’s statement must be amended to name their new school by 15 February in the year before they transfer. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-moving-from-primary-to-secondary-school-this-year/Cycle London and help us support families of disabled children! Nightrider is an exciting 100km moonlit cycle ride past London's iconic landmarks. Setting off from either Crystal Palace or Alexandra Palace you will follow a circular route through Tower Bridge, Hampstead Heath, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and many more while the capital sleeps!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cycle-london-and-help-us-to-support-families-of-disabled-children/Your views are needed on a potential new online serviceWe need your help! Contact a Family in England, and its partners in the SEND Consortium (comprising of Ambitious about Autism, Dyslexia Action, I CAN, MENCAP, the National Autistic Society and Scopeare), are exploring the possibility of setting up a new online service to help families of children and young people with special educational needs and/ or a disability find the right services, wherever they live.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/views-needed-on-a-potential-new-online-service/Contact a Family wins Family Friendly awardContact a Family has been recognised as family friendly employer in the new Family Friendly Awards. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-wins-family-friendly-award/Is romance dead? Results of our Valentine's Day poll...Are you in a relationship? Fed up of all the schmaltz that goes with Valentine’s Day? Not bothered about the Marks and Spencer Valentine’s Day dinner for two option? http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-romance-dead/New edition of Siblings, our guide for parents - out now!Siblings of disabled children often feel that because of the additional care needs of their brother or sister, there is a lack of time for them. Everyday family activities can be limited as parents try to juggle the needs of all the children in the family. Our new guide includes parent to parent tips and personal stories from brothers and sisters.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-edition-of-siblings-our-guide-for-parents-out-now/ Disabled children illegally excluded from school every weekDisabled children are routinely illegally excluded from school with a devastating impact on their education and mental health, according to new research from Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-illegally-excluded-from-school-every-week/Contact a Family saddened by death of Lady RixContact a Family was very sad to hear that Contact a Family patron, Lady Rix has died at the age of 83.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-saddened-by-death-of-lady-rix/Contact a Family calls on government to exempt disabled children from ‘bedroom tax’Contact a Family has today joined six other charities to tell the government they must protect disabled people and their carers from the housing benefit size criteria (also known as bedroom tax).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calls-on-government-to-exempt-disabled-children-from-bedroom-tax/New edition of When your child has additional needs, our guide for parents - out now!Finding out that your child has additional needs can bring about a whole array of emotions. Whatever stage you're at on the journey with your child, this guide gives information on a range of topics which may be useful to you and your family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-edition-of-when-your-child-has-additional-needs-our-guide-for-parents-out-now!/ New social services and wellbeing bill in WalesA new framework for social services is being introduced in Wales. The new social services and wellbeing bill was published at the end of January and will provide a completely new legal framework for social care in Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-social-services-and-wellbeing-bill-in-wales/While London sleeps a unique event will take overNightriders is a 100 km charity moonlit cycle ride that will take you across some of the most iconic London landmarks. Encounter a deserted city of London, Canary Wharf, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Royal Albert Hall, Battersea Power Station and many more.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/while-the-city-sleeps-a-unique-event-will-take-over-london/International Rare Disease Day tomorrowIt's International Rare Disease Day tomorrow. In the run up to mark the event, Rare Disease UK has launched a special report investigating the value of care coordinators to both patients and the NHS at the House of Commons this afternoon. It’s one of three national events to raise awareness of the issues around rare diseases.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/rare-disease-day-one-day-to-go/Benefits are changing from AprilOver the next few months the government will launch the biggest shake up of the benefits system in over 30 years. Between April and October we will see the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’, the scrapping of council tax benefit, personal independence payment replacing disability living allowance (DLA) for those aged 16-64 and a new universal credit that will be paid instead of tax credits and most means tested benefits.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/benefits-are-changing-from-april/Has your child been referred to a genetics centre? Do you have questions about your child's genetics appointment? If it's suspected that your child has a genetic condition or they are undiagnosed and it's believed there is a genetic basis for their difficulties, you may be referred to a genetics centre. We've teamed up with a Guys hospital consultant to answer common questions from parents.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/has-your-child-been-referred-to-a-genetics-centre/Contact a Family responds to Cornwall councillor's remarks Srabani Sen, CEO of Contact a Family said: "It is right that the Cornwall councillor, Collin Brewer has resigned in relation to remarks about disabled children as reported by the BBC. The Paralympics sparked national debate about whether its success marked a change in society's attitudes towards disabled people. Unfortunately, the comments expressed by the former Cornwall councillor highlight that we have a long way to go.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-cornwall-councillors-remarks/We need your views on our helpline and online services! We need your views on the online and helpline services we offer. These services are funded in part by the Department for Education (DfE). The results of the survey will be used to see if these services really do help you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-need-your-views-on-our-helpline-and-online-services!/A step foward for the children and families bill in EnglandYesterday (5 March), Srabani Sen, Chief Executive of Contact a Family gave evidence to a committee of MPs looking at the children and families bill for England. She represented our campaign Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-step-foward-for-the-children-families-bill/Contact a Family demand urgent clarification from government about whether families with disabled children are exempt from bedroom taxContact a Family is demanding urgent clarification from the government about whether or not families with severely disabled children will be affected by the introduction of the bedroom tax.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-demand-urgent-clarification-from-government-about-whether-families-with-disabled-children-are-exempt-from-bedroom-tax/‘Bedroom tax’ victory – government drops court challenge on discriminatory rules casesContact a Family is delighted that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has dropped its attempt to overturn the court of appeal ruling in the Gorry case that housing benefit rules are discriminatory towards disabled children and their families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-victory-–-government-drops-court-challenge-on-discriminatory-rules-cases/Important advice for families with disabled children on 'bedroom tax'In light of the announcement on ‘bedroom tax’ our benefits adviser Derek Sinclair has some important advice for families. “If your child’s condition prevents them sharing a bedroom with a sibling, make sure that you contact your local housing benefit office to explain this. New government guidance (circular HB/CTB U2/2013) says your housing benefit award must allow for a disabled child to have their own room if their condition means they cannot share...http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/important-advice-for-families-on-bedroom-tax/Contact a Family gives evidence to House of Commons transport committee.Earlier this year Contact a Family asked parents to share their experiences on public transport. We got a great response on our Facebook page which meant we could submit written evidence to government based on your views through the transport committee - a group of MPs holding an inquiry into transport issues for disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-gives-evidence-to-house-of-commons-transport-committee/Make sure you get what you're entitled to - call our freephone helpline nowLast week's announcement of bedroom tax concessions for families with disabled children shows how quickly the benefits system is changing. Next month will also see the scrapping of council tax benefit and community care grants, alongside the introduction of personal independence payment and universal credit in trial areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/make-sure-you-get-what-youre-entitled-to-call-our-freephone-helpline/Budget updateIn Wednesday’s budget the Chancellor announced that from 2015 working parents will qualify for 20 per cent tax relief on childcare costs, up to a maximum of £1,200 a year for each child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/budget-update/New report into inequalities in school exclusions publishedThe Children’s Commissioner published its Year 2 report "They Go The Extra Mile" on inequalities in school exclusions today. This report deals primarily with children who are excluded from school either permanently or for a fixed period. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-into-inequalities-in-schools/Our new Ambassador programmeContact a Family has launched a new programme for our key supporters to invest in the future of families in the UK with disabled children. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-new-ambassador-programme/Have your say on the Children and Families Bill in England A committee of MPs is currently looking at the Children and Families Bill in detail and you have the chance to improve it.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-your-say-on-the-children-and-families-bill-in-england/Parents need greater support to manage conduct disorders says health watchdog NICE Parents of children and young people with conduct disorders should be offered training programmes to help them deal with challenging and antisocial behaviour, says the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parents-need-greater-support-to-manage-conduct-disorders-says-health-watchdog-nice/Sharing stories - can you help?Sharing personal experiences is a really useful way for parents and families to help each other. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sharing-stories-can-you-help/Welfare changes condemned by Contact a FamilyContact a Family has joined other charities and church leaders in expressing deep concern about the impact of changes to the UK welfare system on the most vulnerable families. For some families with disabled children who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities, these changes could cost them up to £24,000. Some of the changes to the biggest shake-up in the welfare system in decades – including cuts to housing benefit and changes to council tax – came into effect this week. Later this month the government will start to test the new universal credit system in Ashton-under-Lyne before it is rolled out wider later this year. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/welfare-changes-condemned-by-contact-a-family/Help make disability benefit assessments betterA new report published today by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), of which Contact a Family is a member, raises concerns about the delivery of the new personal independence payment (PIP) assessment. It also makes recommendations for improving these assessments.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-make-disability-benefit-assessments-better/We’re getting ready for the London Marathon! We’ve got lots of lovely people running the marathon for us on April 21 and to celebrate we’ve put together a spotlight on a few of our runners- what motivates them and how they train. First up is Jonathan Morcom , the director of a hotel in Plymouth. He’ll be completing his fourth marathon for Contact a Family on 21 April. He tells us why he fundraises for us...http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-getting-ready-for-the-london-marathon!/Your opportunity to influence specialised health services in England.The NHS commissioning board in England has opened its application process for patient and carer members of its 74 clinical reference groups (CRGs) for 2013 -14.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-opportunity-to-influence-specialised-health-services-in-england/Need help challenging bedroom tax decisions?Contact a Family has put together two template letters to be used by parents where a disabled child’s need for their own bedroom is not being taken into account by their local housing benefit office. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/need-help-challenging-bedroom-tax-decisions/Eleven days to go until the London Marathon!As part of a series of interviews that throws a spotlight on our London Marathon runners, we talk to Laura Watt, 24 from Cumbria about why Contact a Family is such an important cause for her.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/only-11-days-to-go-until-the-london-marathon!/It’s going to be a hair raising London Marathon run!Dan Shone from London will be putting his running shoes on and raising vital funds for Contact a Family at the London Marathon on 21 April – and it’s up to you to decide how hairy his run will be. To help raise money for Contact a Family Dan is auctioning off the state of his face on race day by laying his much loved beard on the line.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/hair-raising-marathon-running/Help for families with disabled and seriously ill children on low income Parents of children and young adults who are disabled or seriously ill will be able to apply for a share of the £27.3 million Family Fund, the government announced today as it continues its commitment for two years.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-for-families-with-disabled-and-seriously-ill-children-on-low-income/Is the NHS in England ready for public and patient involvement? Major changes to the way health services in England are bought and paid for were introduced on the 1 April. Parent Participation Manager for Health, Sheila Davies talks more about these changes and Contact a Family's new report. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-the-nhs-ready-for-public-and-patient-involvement/Going the extra mile for Contact a FamilyPhysiotherapist Sam Close from Essex has run six half marathons already. Here she tells us why she is running her first full marathon for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/going-the-extra-mile/Get Connected, the magazine for parents of disabled children and all who work with themPacked with the latest news, policy and parents' stories, the spring edition of Connected is out now!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-connected-our-magazine-for-parents-of-disabled-children-and-all-who-work-with-them/Good luck to our amazing London Marathon runners!This Sunday a team of 12 fantastic Contact a Family runners will tackle the 26 miles of the Virgin London Marathon raising vital funds for our work on behalf of families with disabled children. Our team have been training, fundraising and working extremely hard throughout the winter months and even before the big day have already raised a fantastic £17,500!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/good-luck-to-our-amazing-london-marathon-runners!/New report shows parent carer forum impact in the reform of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) servicesThirty one local authority areas are testing proposed changes to assessments and services for children and young adults with special educational needs (SEN) in England as set out in the children and families bill. The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and Contact a Family have produced a new research report to find out how parent carer forums had been involved with these changes.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-report-shows-parent-carer-forum-impact-in-the-reform-of-special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-(send)-services/Thank you to our London Marathon runnersEveryone at Contact a Family would like to congratulate all our wonderful London Marathon runners who ran 26 miles on behalf of Contact a Family on Sunday. Our 12 amazing runners have already raised over £17,500 for Contact a Family - this will make a big difference in continuing our work supporting families with disabled children. And there’s even more to come. So, for that we’d like to say a massive thank you!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thank-you-to-london-marathon-runners/Use your voice now to help disabled children in the futureCaring for disabled children in the future is one of the top concerns for most parent carers. This is why Contact a Family is part of the Care and Support Alliance, campaigning to end the care crisis in England. The current system is chronically underfunded, leaving thousands of disabled people and their carers without the support they need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/use-your-voice-now-to-help-disabled-children-in-the-future/Getting ready for the London MarathonIn the run up to the London Marathon, one of ourrunners has made a video on her experience of training and why she chose Contact a Family as her charity of choice.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/getting-ready-for-the-london-marathon/Scale of illegal school exclusions revealedThe children's commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson, has published the findings from her school exclusions inquiry in her report, "Always Someone Else’s Problem". http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/childrens-commissioner-for-englands-inquiry-reveals-scale-of-illegal-school-exclusions/Make sure disabled children are a priority in YOUR area!Our campaign, the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) for England and The Children’s Trust, Tadworth have launched a disabled children’s charter for health and wellbeing boards.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/urgent-action-needed-make-sure-disabled-children-are-a-priority-in-your-area!/Are you the father of a disabled child? Check out our new guideHaving a disabled child affects all members of a family. No matter if you're a new parent or an experienced one - everyone can react in different ways to the news that their child has a disability or medical condition. Our new Fathers guide includes tips for dads from other dads, and personal stories from fathers, as well as updated sources of support and useful resources.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-the-father-of-a-disabled-child-check-out-our-new-fathers-guide/Got a question about the children and families bill for England? In February, the government published the children and families bill. This bill includes future changes to the law for children and young adults with special educational needs (SEN) in England. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/got-a-question-about-the-children-and-families-bill-for-england/Help beating the bedroom taxYesterday The Mirror and Sunday People newspapers featured a story on ten ways to beat the bedroom tax. Number two on their list signposts to Contact a Family and our two template letters that can be used by parents where a disabled child's need for their own bedroom is not being taken into account by their local housing benefit office.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/beat-the-bedroom-tax/The UK's hidden workforceNew research warns that welfare and care cuts risk turning back the clock on carer support with a third of those caring full-time for loved ones receiving no practical support. The results of a Carers UK survey of over 3,000 carers across the UK show that many are struggling alone without advice or support and are seeing caring taking a toll on their health, family finances and careers as a result. The charity has warned that leaving many of the UK's 6.5 million carers with little or no support risks pushing them to breaking point, and that new cuts to benefits and services could undo decades of work to improve carers' lives.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-uks-hidden-workforce/Raising awareness of disability hate crimeA recent review into police, probation and the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales has found that disability hate crime is often ‘overlooked’ and ‘under-reported’. Research by disability charity MENCAP has also suggested that nine out of ten people with a learning disability have been a victim of a hate crime. To combat this, Disability Rights UK have launched a ‘disability hate crime toolkit’ that raises awareness of when ‘hate incidents’ or crimes are occurring.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/raising-awareness-of-disability-hate-crime/Run out of time to enter 2014’s London Marathon?The ballot for next year’s Virgin London Marathon closed in record time on Monday. But if you’re one of the thousands left disappointed, don’t worry, Contact a Family is here to help! If you’d like to run next year’s London Marathon and raise vital funds for families with disabled children, we have guaranteed places and have already signed up our first runners.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/run-out-of-time-to-enter-2014s-london-marathon/Have you been affected by the scrapping of council tax benefit?Our updated guide, Help with council tax bills for England, Scotland and Wales, outlines the three main schemes for reducing your council tax bill.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-you-been-affected-by-the-scrapping-of-council-tax-benefit/Contact a Family fears parent carers will be left in 'no man’s land' The care bill for England will be introduced to parliament today. Much of the bill has already been published in draft form which has been considered in detail by a committee of MPs. The care bill is important as it relates to social care law for adults and will provide the framework for adult care and support services in the future. The bill will introduces important new rights for disabled people and recommendations made by the Dilnot commission on long-term care funding.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/queens-speech/Government’s transport inquiry want your viewsEarlier this year Contact a Family asked parents to share their experiences about travelling on public transport. We got a great response on our Facebook page which meant we could submit written evidence to a government inquiry into access to transport for disabled people. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/governments-transport-inquiry-wants-your-views/Reports highlight progress made by parent carers in shaping services in EnglandTwo recently published reports follow the progress of parent carer participation in shaping local and national services, as well as highlighting the work of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carer-participation-update/Benefits are changing – get the latest advice on what this means for youOver the next three years the government will embark on the biggest shake up of the welfare system seen in this country for generations. To help you make sense of what these changes will mean, our expert welfare rights team have updated their guide for parents who have a disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/benefits-are-changing-–-get-the-latest-advice-on-what-this-means-for-you/Meet our parent advisers...Our parent advisers can offer parents of disabled children advice on all aspects of raising a disabled child.We help over 900 parents a month with queries and can give advice on a range of topics including: the special educational needs system, the benefits maze and money and more. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-the-parent-advisers/Celebrating the value of parent carers - Carers Week 10 – 16 JuneCarers Week 2013 takes place from Monday 10 to Sunday 16 June and we'll be taking the opportunity to celebrate the invaluable work of parent carers!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/celebrating-the-value-of-carers/Raise money for families with disabled children and come dine with us!Contact a Family is a special charity and we like to offer our supporters some pretty special things to do to raise money for families with disabled children. So if sweating just ain't your thing and Lycra really doesn't suit you, then why not do something you enjoy - having your friends round for dinner?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/come-dine-with-us!/Report highlights concerns on relationships and raising a childNew research has shown that almost two-thirds of all types of parents, had a concern about their relationship which was not there before they had a child. The report from OneplusOne outlines some of the general challenges that new parents can face. The report called Sleep, Sex and Sacrifice – the transition to parenthood, a testing time for relationships looks at these problems and makes recommendations on the support you can get to strengthen your relationships.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/report-highlights-concerns-on-relationships-and-raising-a-child/Call our helpline for more personalised benefits advice Contact a Family has long been a source of information about the benefits system for parents of disabled children, however now- thanks to three years of funding - we will be able to offer more personalised advice for parents living in England. From today (June 3), if you get in contact with us - we will be able to offer you an appointment with our welfare experts to discuss your situation. We can then take you through the latest relevant benefits advice and run through any other financial help you may be entitled to maximise your income. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/call-our-helpline-for-more-personalised-benefits-advice/Mother wins two year battle to get the support her daughter needsA mother from Caerphilly in Wales whose daughter with complex needs has just won a two year battle with social and health services to get the right support. The daughter of Tymandra Blewett-Silcock requires tube feeding which needs nursing help. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mother-wins-two-year-battle-to-get-the-support-her-daughter-needs/Have you read our newly updated tax credit guide?There are two tax credits offering financial support to families. Our updated tax credits guide, for parents of disabled children, takes you through the system, with 'ready reckoner' tables to work out what you might be entitled to. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-you-read-our-newly-updated-tax-credits-guide/More events for parent carers in Scotland planned for autumnGood news for Contact a Family’s work in Scotland. We heard very recently that we have been awarded a new two year grant from the Scotland government's third sector early intervention fund distributed by BIG (the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-events-for-parent-carers-in-scotland-planned-for-autumn/Carers week - show your support for carers!View a short message from Srabani Sen highlighting the amazing work that carers do and what you can do to make sure that parent carers and carers of adults aren't treated differently.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-week-show-your-support-for-carers!/ New Contact a Family guide launched on the day Personal Independence Payments startContact a Family has published the latest in its range of benefits guides for families with disabled children to coincide with the launch of personal independence payments (PIP). Initially PIP will only apply to those making a brand new claim. Then, from October 2013 DLA claimants whose existing award ends, or who report a change of circumstances, or who turn 16 will be re-assessed under the PIP system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-contact-a-family-guide-launched-on-the-day-personal-independence-payments-start/Will new law in England end delays in disabled children getting help?Today, MPs in the House of Commons, will consider further amendments (proposal for change) to the children and families bill. This is called the report stage. In launching the bill in February 2013, the Minister Edward Timpson MP reiterated the need to end delays in children with additional needs getting help, and to improve their transition to adulthood and independence. He said that legislation was only part of the solution and that what was really needed was a culture change across all services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/will-children-families-bill-end-delays-in-disabled-children-getting-help/Contact a Family joins online action to urge George Osborne to invest in careContact a Family has urged George Osborne to recognise the huge social value of social care in the forthcoming spending review. The letter to the chancellor of the exchequer urges him to make social care a top priority for investment in the spending review and is accompanied by a booklet which shows - through personal examples of people helped by social care provision - that the system offers great value for money, enabling older people, disabled people and carers to live safely, with dignity and able to make a positive contribution to society.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-george-osborne-to-invest-in-care-before-11am/Worrying rise in child poverty figuresThe government has published new figures that detail poverty in the UK and suggest that the numbers of children pushed into absolute poverty has increased. But worryingly the new figures do not take into account the benefit changes being implemented this year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/worrying-rise-in-child-poverty-figures/Tune in to Radio 4’s Money Box disability and carers benefits specialContact a Family’s Welfare Rights Adviser, Derek Sinclair will be one of the experts answering calls live on Radio 4’s Money Box today (Wednesday 19 June) at 3.00pm.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tune-in-to-radio-4s-money-box-disability-and-carers-benefits-special/Celebrating fathers of disabled children this Father's DayWith the end of Carers Week and with Father’s Day on Sunday, we’re highlighting the amazing work of all the dad’s of disabled children – but in particular the dad’s who are full-time carers. One of them is Andrew. He lives in Harlow in Essex with his long term partner Fabienne and their sons Pierre, 11 and Jacques, 7. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/celebrating-fathers-of-disabled-children-this-fathers-day/Contact a Family chief executive awarded OBEContact a Family's chief executive, Srabani Sen has been given an OBE for services to children and families. Srabani's award was announced in the Queen's birthday honours list published on Saturday 15 June.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-chief-executive-awarded-obe/Be your own Superman/woman and raise money for families of disabled children!With the latest Superman film in cinemas, why not do your own impersonation and help raise money for families with disabled children at the same time? It's the classic - jumping out of a plane and raising money for charity. What's not to like?!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/be-your-own-superman-–-or-woman!/Contact a Family helpline praised in House of LordsThe vital support and advice provided by helplines such as the Contact a Family helpline to families of disabled children who are victims of bullying has been praised in a House of Lords debate. In the debate on extreme bullying during the children and families bill progress through the House of Lords, Lord Nash singled out Contact a Family’s helpline as a ‘vital source of support and advice for children who are bullied’.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-helpline-praised-in-house-of-lords/Tell us what you think - consultation on personal independence payment The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced a consultation on the Moving around activity which is part of the assessment for the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP). This consultation is welcome after widespread disappointment when the final version of the PIP regulations tightened the assessment criteria for the Moving around activity distance from 50 to 20 metres.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dwp-to-consult-on-pip-mobility/Government to announce spending review todayChancellor George Osborne will announce £11.5bn worth of cuts in today's spending review, after the Treasury concluded budget negotiations with other government departments. The review covers spending for the year 2015/16, which includes the election. Most departments are facing cuts of between eight and ten per cent.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-announces-spending-review-today/Comprehensive spending review presents challenges for disabled children and familiesComprehensive spending review presents challenges for disabled children and families. Contact a Family is worried that the cap on welfare spending announced by the chancellor in today's Spending Review could affect disability benefits in the future. In addition, while welcoming the announcement by George Osborne that further funding for social care is to come from the NHS budget, Contact a Family is concerned about whether this will ensure young disabled people get the support they need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/comprehensive-spending-review-presents-challenges-for-disabled-children-and-families/Coming to the aid of legal aidThe government's planned changes to legal aid in England and Wales have been discussed in the House of Commons amid growing concerns that they will increase the likelihood of innocent people going to prison and destroy access to civil justice for some of the most vulnerable people in society.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/coming-to-the-aid-of-legal-aid/Parent carer forums work with local authorities and health in England Contact a Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and South East Seven Pathfinder, in collaboration with the Department for Education and Mott McDonald, have produced a short video on’ co-production’ or how parent carer forums, local authorities and health commissioners work together.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carer-forums-work-with-health-and-local-authorities-in-england/Two out of three families feel they have 'no control' over education, health and social care helpNew research carried out by eight leading disability charities including Contact a Family, highlights the need to significantly improve parent carers’ understanding, use and access to personal budgets, if the government’s increased focus on ‘personalisation’ is to be successful. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/2-out-of-3-families-feel-they-have-no-control-over-the-education-health-and-social-care-help-they-receive-for-their-disabled-child/We want some Great North runners!We’re looking for runners in Britain’s biggest running event to raise money for families with disabled children. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-want-some-great-north-runners!/Bedroom tax - 100 days laterToday marks 100 days since the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ and the reduction in the amount of housing benefit that tenants in council housing or housing association properties receive if they ‘under-occupy’ their property. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-–-100-days-later/Get 'Connected' magazine!Packed with the latest news, policy and parents' stories, our magazine 'Connected' is out now! http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-connected-magazine-for-parents-of-disabled-children-and-all-who-work-with-them/Benefit cap rolled out across the UK from todayThe government’s cap on the amount of benefit payments, including housing benefit, that a family receives will be rolled out across the country from today, Monday 15 July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/benefit-cap-rolled-out-across-the-uk-from-today/Our Radio 4 appeal - coming soon!Contact a Family is delighted that one of its patrons, award-winning author Claire Tomalin is presenting our Radio 4 appeal in October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-radio-4-appeal-–-coming-soon!/Government benefit helpline charge premium rates – but we’re still free!The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) freephone benefits helpline for carers and disabled people has closed. Although there are still helplines for disability living allowance and carers allowance these are 0845 numbers as opposed to the old free 0800 number and all charge up to 10.5p a minute from a landline and up to 41p a minute from a mobile. Luckily, we’ve found a resource that could help you find out if the DWP has an alternative freephone or landline number to save you money. Check the’ Say No to 0870’ website for more information. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-benefit-helplines-charge-premium-rates-–-but-were-still-free/Please sign our letter to Cameron and CleggThe government is currently consulting on the criteria for the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and we now have a letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg we’d like all our supporters to add their name to. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/please-sign-our-letter-to-cameron-and-clegg/Changes to national curriculum could disadvantage disabled childrenContact a Family has again voiced concern that plans for changes to the national curriculum in England could put at a disadvantage children with special education needs (SEN) or a disability.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/changes-to-the-national-curriculum-could-disadvantage-disabled-children/Have you been sent a tax credit renewal form? Don't get caught outIf you are the parent of a disabled child in the UK, and you've been sent a tax credits annual declaration form, you must remember to take action by 31 July or Wednesday next week. Complete and return your form or phone the tax credit helpline to complete the process by phone. As it's the summer holidays, many parents get caught out by not sending the form back by the deadline, but if you don't fill in the form and send it off on time your tax credit payments are likely to stop.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-you-been-sent-a-tax-credit-renewal-form-dont-get-caught-out/Exclusion and children with SENContact a Family is very disappointed that the rate of exclusion for children with special educational needs (SEN) has improved only marginally and has renewed its call for urgent improvements to teacher training.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/exclusion-and-children-with-sen/Bedroom tax judgement to be appealedToday the High Court in London delivered its verdict on a legal challenge to housing benefit rules known as the bedroom tax. Contact a Family is extremely disappointed to learn that families have partially lost their court challenge. However,lawyers representing adults and children with disabilities have vowed to fight on.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-judgment-to-be-appealed/Problems with your child’s transport to school?Our helpline often has phone calls from frantic parents who have been turned down by local authorities for school transport - so much so, that we joined forces with IPSEA and the Parent Partnership Network to help fight myths or common misconceptions that parents often hear as an excuse for refusal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/do-you-live-in-england-problems-with-your-childs-transport-to-school/Get a free copy of our guide to holidays, play and leisure from 0808 808 3555Our guide to holidays, play and leisure for families of disabled children has been updated with a smart new listings format.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-copy-of-holiday-play-and-leisure-guide-available-from-0808-888-3555/Parliamentary under secretary of state welcomes parent carer participation approachOver the past ten years, Contact a Family has supported the growth of ‘parent carer participation’ and has helped develop local parent carer forums across England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parliamentary-under-secretary-of-state-welcomes-parent-carer-participation-approach/Tired all the time? The impact of sleep problems on families with disabled children A new report from the Family Fund looks at the impact of sleep problems on families with disabled children from across the UK. The report, Tired all the time draws attention to how widespread the issue of sleep deprivation is, and the effect it has on the whole family. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tired-all-the-time-the-impact-of-sleep-problems-on-families-with-disabled-children/Support Contact a Family's fundraising Pirates... Yarrr!On 7 September, a crew of six Contact a Family staff (including our CEO Srabani Sen), and some daring supporters are taking part on the Thames Great River Race and hoping to fundraise over £3,350 for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/support-our-contact-a-family-pirates-yarrr!/Read our tips for reducing stress for carers, family and friends Read our tips to help reduce stress for families and carers of disabled children. Based on our face to face information sessions conducted last year, our new web section Carers, family and friends, aims to help parents and carers reduce stress in key areas. The section also has access to plenty of resources and you can watch orlisten to what other parents have found useful. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-family-and-friends/Thousands concerned at personal independence payment (PIP) '20 metre rule'Contact a Family would like to thank all of our supporters for standing up for disabled people amid growing concerns over changes to the benefit system. The charity is delighted that over 10,000 people together with over 80 charities, healthcare organisations,local authorities and celebrities, have signed a letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg stating that people will be “trapped in their own homes” if proposed changes to the disability benefit system continue to be implemented.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thousands-complain-to-cameron-and-clegg/Government proposes tax-free childcare scheme for working parentsYesterday, the government published a consultation on its plans to introduce a new tax-free childcare scheme for working families, where a single parent or both parents are working. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-proposes-tax-free-childcare-scheme-for-working-parents/School uniform help for families in Northern IrelandFamilies with disabled children in Northern Ireland may be eligible for school uniform grants. The clothing allowance scheme covers pupils in primary, post-primary and special schools. The eligibility criteria are similar to those used for free school meals. Parents can obtain further information, check eligibility criteria and apply through their local education and library board.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/school-uniform-help-for-families-in-northern-ireland-(1)/New standards of care for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) announcedThe National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued standards to improve the quality of care and support for children, young people and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-standards-of-care-for-children-with-adhd-announced/Learning disability week - join our Facebook discussionThis week is learning disabilities week. Created by the charity MENCAP, the aim of the week is to raise awareness of learning disabilities, and celebrate the skills of those with a learning disability. This year’s theme is ‘celebrating family’ – tomorrow, join our Facebook discussion with other parents of disabled children. Let us know who your superhero family member is and why. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/learning-disabilities-week-–-join-our-facebook-discussion-tomorrow/Is your child getting the right support at school?It’s learning disabilities week this week. The aim is to raise awareness of people with learning disabilities and to celebrate their skills. Today, we’re asking is your child getting the right support at school?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-getting-the-right-support-at-school/Learning disabilities, sex and relationships Does your child have learning difficulties? Is your child coming to that awkward age? Our reporter, in the midlands Angie Crashley tracked down some excellent advice from Gill Leno Personal, Social and Health Education Specialist at Queen Alexandra College on having “the conversation” and talking about sex with your child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/learning-disablities-relationships-sex-and-having-the-talk/How the school nurse can help in your child's educationSchool nursing has changed over the years. Did you know they now provide help and support around issues such as puberty, bullying, behavioural difficulties and support for young carers? School nurses work closely with schools to ensure all children with health problems have supported access to education, and establish friendships.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/getting-the-kids-ready-to-go-back-to-school-how-school-nurses-can-help-you/Get involved in parent carer participation and help improve local services for disabled children and their familiesA recent survey and report published by charity KIDS highlights how many local play and leisure providers lack the resources and support to offer inclusive activities for disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-involved-in-parent-carer-participation-and-help-improve-local-services-for-disabled-children-and-their-families/Government health watchdog published new guidance about management and support of children and young people with autism.The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published new clinical guidelines on the management and support of autism in children and young people. According to NICE, recent studies have shown that there are more than half a million people in the UK with an autism spectrum condition and at least one in 100 children is thought to be affected.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-health-watchdog-published-new-guidance-about-management-and-support-of-children-and-young-people-with-autism/The myths on school funding that every parent should knowOur helpline often has phone calls from parents that say their child’s educational support has been cut or withdrawn because of changes to how money is distributed by local authorities to schools. Every parent should know that schools and local authorities have a duty by law to provide children with special educational needs (SEN) with the right support. We joined forces with IPSEA and the Parent Partnership Network to help fight myths or common misconceptions that parents often hear.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-myths-on-school-funding-every-parent-should-know/Our fundraising Pirates are askin’ for your money! Yarrr...Next Saturday our fundraising Pirates (or our lovely crew of Contact a Family staff and friends), are taking part on the Thames Great River Race which will be raising thousands for Contact a Family. So far, they have raised over £1,163 through online donations and ingenuous ideas such as eBay auctions to raise cash to support for families with disabled children. But - we still need your help !http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-fundraising-pirates-are-askin-for-your-money!-yarrr/Dont lose out! Make sure you have told the Tax Credits Office if your 16 year old is staying on in educationIf you have a 16 year old who is staying on in education, then remember to contact the Tax Credits Office to let them know by 4pm tomorrow! Otherwise you could lose out on tax credit payments. This is still necessary even if you have already told the Child Benefit Office.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-16-staying-on-in-education-make-sure-you-have-told-your-tax-credits-office!/Childcare in the summer holidays - costly, unavailable and affects work say parentsA new survey has revealed the difficulties parents of disabled children face in juggling work and summer holiday childcare. Parents are compromising, adapting their working hours, and paying over the odds for expensive childcare. The Working Families survey of parents of disabled children reveals the high costs and difficulties in finding suitable childcare which have a serious knock-on effect on parents' work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/summer-holiday-childcare-costly-unavailable-and-affecting-work/National minimum wage rise may be bad news for some carers Next month the national minimum wage (NMW) for those aged 21 and over will be increased from £6.19 to £6.31 per hour. Whilst this is good news for most low paid workers, it may cause problems for some parents on low earnings if they are claiming both carer’s allowance and working tax credit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/national-minimum-wage-rise-may-be-bad-news-for-some-carers/Our Radio 4 appeal recordedClaire Tomalin, Contact a Family patron and award-winning author, was at the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London yesterday recording our Radio 4 appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-radio-4-appeal-recorded/Introduction of PIP for existing DLA claimants to be delayed by 3 weeks The government yesterday laid new regulations (rules) which will delay the introduction of PIP for existing DLA claimants until the 28th October 2013. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/introduction-of-pip-for-existing-dla-claimants-to-be-delayed-by-3-weeks/Contact a Family joins new campaign to change the benefits debateContact a Family has joined over 50 other charities in a new coalition to change the debate on the ‘benefits culture’.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-joins-new-campaign-to-change-the-benefits-debate/Prime Minister hints at further delays to Universal Credit With the government already having postponed plans to start the national roll-out of Universal Credit in October, it seems increasing likely that there will be further delays to the introduction of this new benefit. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/prime-minister-hints-at-further-delays-to-universal-credit/Our Radio 4 appeal – less than a week to go!Everyone at Contact a Family is really excited that it's now less than a week until our BBC Radio 4 appeal! Award-winning author and patron of Contact a Family, Claire Tomalin, will be talking movingly about her own experiences, the work we do on behalf of families with disabled children and why she supports the charity, in the broadcast on Sunday 6 October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-radio-4-appeal/Minimum wage increase could mean working families with disabled children lose over £3,000 a year While the increase in the national minimum wage is good news for most low paid workers, Contact a Family is worried that this could result in some hard working parents with disabled children losing over £3000 a year in carers’ allowance – the main benefit for carers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/minimum-wage-increase-could-mean-working-families-with-disabled-children-lose-over-3000-a-year/Listen to our Radio 4 appeal on Sunday!This weekend Contact a Family is the focus of the BBC Radio 4 appeal. Our appeal is on Radio 4 this Sunday (6 October) at 7.55am and repeated at 9.26pm. Listeners have one week to donate and raise as much money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/listen-to-radio-4-on-sunday/Draft code of practice for special educational needs published - have your sayThe government is planning big changes to the way support is given to children with special educational needs (SEN) in England. The changes are in the children and families bill, which is going through the final stages of parliamentary process at the moment. Today, the draft SEN code of practice has been published for consultation.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-views-are-needed-to-input-into-the-draft-code-of-practice-for-special-educational-needs-(sen)/An update on our Radio 4 fundraising appealContact a Family’s Radio 4 appeal was broadcast yesterday (Sunday) and already there has been a great reaction and the donations are coming in. In the broadcast, Contact a Family patron and author Claire Tomalin talked movingly of her own experiences of bringing up a disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/an-update-on-our-radio-4-fundraising-appeal/Turning 16 years old and moving onto personal independence payment (PIP). From today, most disabillity living allowance (DLA) claimants who turn 16 will be invited to claim personal independence payment (PIP). The only exception will be young people claiming under the special rules for the terminally ill who will be able to continue getting DLA.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/turning-16-and-moving-onto-personal-independence-payment/Get involved: Changing the debate on benefits Contact a Family’s new campaign aims to give a voice to the millions who depend on benefits. The new coalition we’re a part of – Who benefits? – launched today (Tuesday) in an attempt to change the debate on the ‘benefits culture’. We’ve joined over 50 other charities at a time of massive changes to the welfare and benefits system to represent people that need support from benefits for reasons including disability, low pay, illness, homelessness or because they are caring for others.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-new-campaign-coalition-launched/Parent carers' rights left behindToday, the government announced that the children and families bill will be amended to give better support for young carers in England. Contact a Family welcomes this commitment to address the disparity of rights for young carers, however this now leaves parent carers of disabled children as the only group of carers whose rights to assessment and support are left behind.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carers-left-behind/New judicial review lodged against bedroom tax A new judicial review has been launched against the bedroom tax rules. The case is being brought by a family who need an extra bedroom for an overnight carer who helps to look after their disabled child. Whilst the rules allow for an extra bedroom for an overnight carer needed by the tenant or their partner, they do not allow for an extra room if an overnight carer looks after a disabled child. These rules will now be challenged in court on the basis they discriminate against disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-judicial-review-lodged-against-bedroom-tax/Further bedroom tax developments – advice for familiesOver the past few weeks there have been some successful appeals against cuts to housing benefit under the ‘bedroom tax’ or cuts to housing benefit. These decisions provide some hope for families who have a small box room that is being treated as a ‘spare’ bedroom. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/further-bedroom-tax-developments-–-advice-for-families/Contact a Family Ambassadors launchedOur new Ambassador programme has been officially launched with an event for working mothers of disabled children hosted by Samantha Cameron at Downing Street.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-ambassadors-launched/New guide for parents: 'The NHS and caring for your disabled child- England'Our new guide for parents in England called The NHS and caring for your disabled child is available now to download and order. The guide contains information that includes: help on getting information about your child's condition or treatment, the roles of GPs, health visitors and others, what to expect out of hospital, community and CAMHS services, and much more! http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-guide-for-parents-nhs-and-caring-for-your-disabled-child-england/Charities urge PM not to let children and families bill become a tale of broken promises Contact a Family and over 100 other charities and organisations that represent thousands of parent carers have written to David Cameron today urging the government to take action and make changes to the children and families bill before it becomes law in England. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/charities-urge-pm-not-to-let-children-and-families-bill-become-a-tale-of-broken-promises/Family win the right to challenge in courts: Stop the DLA Takeaway campaign updateA family, whose disabled son's benefit was taken away while he was in hospital, have won the right to take their legal challenge against the secretary of state for work and pensions to the court of appeal. Cameron Mathieson spent more than two years in Alder Hey Hospital with cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. His family, from Warrington and backed by both Contact a Family and The Children's Trust, argue they acted as full-time carers until the five-year-olds death, in October 2012. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/family-win-legal-challenge-after-benefits-were-stopped-when-their-severely-disabled-son-was-in-hospital/Our Radio 4 fundraising appeal - we've reached £10k!We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to making our Radio 4 appeal earlier this month our most successful ever. Written and presented by award-winning author and Contact a Family patron Claire Tomalin, the appeal has so far raised £10,367 for our work with families with disabled children. This is likely to increase to over £12,000 once Gift Aid is included and is the most we’ve ever raised through a Radio 4 appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-radio-4-appeal-weve-reached-the-10k-mark!/Disappointment as government rejects changes to personal independence payment (PIP)Contact a Family is disappointed that the government has not amended the more stringent physical mobility test used in the new personal independence payment (PIP) scheme. The government had launched a consultation on the ‘moving around’ activity used in PIP following the granting of a judicial review of the Department of Work and Pensions failure to consult on its plans to introduce a more stringent test of a claimant’s ability to walk.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disappointment-as-government-rejects-changes-to-pip/Calling all budding photographers: No Limits photo competition aims to inspire!Contact a Family has joined forces with law firm Irwin Mitchell to launch No Limits! A national online photo competition. Open to all abilities, the No Limits competition aims to inspire and empower, by highlighting that there are truly 'no limits' to what people with disabilities can achieve.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/calling-all-budding-photographers!/Motability announce a new support package for those at risk of losing out under PIPMotability - a scheme that helps disabled people to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair, using their benefit payments - has announced a support package for those disabled adults who will lose out after being moved from disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/motability-announce-a-new-support-package-for-those-at-risk-of-losing-out-under-pip/ Can you help us understand more about your child’s education and inclusion in everyday activities?Contact a Family needs your help to find out what parent-carers of disabled children think about their child’s education and their inclusion in everyday activities – both in and out of school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/can-you-help-us-understand-more-about-your-childs-education-and-inclusion-in-everyday-activities/Transfer of young people turning 16 onto PIP is delayed in most parts of the country.In a last minute announcement, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has amended the timetable for moving disablity living allowance (DLA) claimants turning 16 onto personal independence payment (PIP). PIP already applies to new claims from disabled people aged 16 and above. But it was also scheduled that most DLA claimants turning 16 on or after the 7 October would be re-assessed under PIP.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/transfer-of-young-people-turning-16-onto-pip-is-delayed-in-most-parts-of-the-country/Important changes to the benefits appeal processParents can often find themselves in a position where they have to challenge a decision on the benefits that they or their child receives. New rules introduced on 28 October mean the way you can dispute most benefit decisions is changing.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/important-changes-to-the-benefits-appeal-process/Fundraise for us to get your place on the 2014 Virgin London Marathon!Were you unsuccessful in the ballot for next year's London Marathon? Then join our lovely team! Earlier this month, Virgin London Marathon organisers announced the results of the ballot for next year's marathon. If you were left disappointed - then join our team - our places are going fast.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/not-got-through-on-the-ballot-for-the-london-marathon-read-on!/Radio 4 fundraising appeal - over £13k reached!A huge thank you to everyone who supported our Radio 4 charity appeal in October. Our patron, the award winning author Claire Tomalin wrote and presented a beautiful appeal on our behalf that really expressed the value and need for Contact a Family services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/radio-4-appeal-over-13k-reached/Stress-free cinema for families with disabled children in the North West Over 400 families attended a special Contact a Family showing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 at the Trafford Cinema and at Blackpool Odeon in the North West. Families with disabled children were able to enjoy the film just for them, thanks to special funding from Garfield Weston Trust.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/stress-free-cinema-for-families-with-disabled-children-in-the-north-west/Contact a Family continues to shape political debateContact a Family's 'Falling through the net' report into the illegal exclusion of disabled children from schools in England and Wales, reached key policy influencers this week when it was discussed in the House of Lords. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-continues-to-shape-political-debate-(1)/Worried about the rising cost of heating your home? Contact a Family can help keep you warmThe National Audit Office (NAO) added its voice to the emerging political row over the rising cost of energy bills this week as it predicted 17 more years of above-inflation increases in electric, gas and water bills for people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/worried-about-rising-cost-of-heating-your-home-contact-a-family-can-help-keep-you-warm/New housing benefit regulations won’t help all disabled children unable to share a bedroomThe government has finally introduced new regulations in England, Wales and Scotland making clear that housing benefit awards must include an individual bedroom for disabled children under 16 years who can’t share with a brother or sister. However, these new rules will only apply to children on disability living allowance (DLA) at certain rates – rather than to all disabled children who are unable to share a bedroom.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-housing-benefit-regulations-wont-help-all-disabled-children-unable-to-share-a-bedroom/Blowing the whistle on the bullying of disabled children and young peopleFrom 18 to 22 November is Anti-Bullying Week. The theme this year is 'The future is ours - safe, fun and connected.' Cyberbullying is a real concern for many parents and a new report by the NSPCC into the impact of social networking, found that disabled children are more likely to have had direct experience of something potentially harmful on a social networking site than non-disabled children. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/blowing-the-whistle-on-the-bullying-of-disabled-children-and-young-people/Ofsted warns up to 10,000 children are missing out on full time educationEducation watchdog Ofsted this week warned that up to 10,000 children of school age are missing out on full time education, and in danger of becoming "invisible" to the authorities in England. The report by Ofsted says that some of the children concerned had been excluded from school illegally when the children were sent home from school without head teachers operating the formal legal exclusion process.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/ofsted-warns-of-10000-missing-from-school-system/Dealing with cyberbullying - what every parent should know Do you know what to do if your child is being bullied? Cyberbullying on social networks can happen to any child, but research shows that children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are more likely to experience it. Social networks should be a place where your child can have fun, connect and make friends, so it is really upsetting to find out that your child is being bullied on social networking sites.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dealing-with-cyberbullying-what-every-parent-should-know/New information guide for parents on developmental delayThis much needed guide is for parents and carers who think their child is not developing as they ought to be, or who have been told that their child has developmental delay or global developmental delay.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/developmental-delay-an-information-guide-for-parents/Last chance to improve the children and families bill – email the minister today.The children and families bill in England is about to reach the last stage in the House of Lords during which changes can be made to the bill. Contact a Family and our partners across the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) campaign have today launched a supporter action to improve the bill. Email the government today. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/last-chance-to-improve-the-children-and-families-bill-–-email-the-minister-today/New fundraising initiative to help us support even more familiesContact a Family celebrated its new VIP donor programme in style last night at a special reception held at Chandos House in central London. At the event, potential donors were encouraged to pledge long term financial support for Contact a Family and invest in the future of families with disabled children through our new Ambassador programme.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-fundraising-initiative-to-help-us-support-even-more-families/Contact a Family calls on secretary of state to change bedroom tax rulesContact a Family has joined forces with 50 other charities to call for the government to exempt disabled people and carers from changes to the spare room subsidy or so called ‘bedroom tax’ The letter sent to Iain Duncan Smith today warns that thousands of disabled people are cutting back on food and heating or being forced into debt as a direct result of the bedroom tax. The policy is having a devastating impact on disabled people and their carers with many now in constant fear of losing their homes.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calls-on-secretary-of-state-to-change-bedroom-tax-rules/Carers Rights Day - celebrating the value of parent carers Today is Carers Rights Day and the theme is 'rights, advice, support', focusing on ensuring that carers understand their rights and get access to good quality advice that can support them to care.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-rights-day-celebrating-the-value-of-parent-carers/Contact a Family calls on the prime minister to clear up ‘bedroom tax’ confusionContact a Family has written to the prime minister asking him to clear up the confusion over exemptions for disabled people as part of the spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’. We have joined with 50 other charities in writing to David Cameron to express our frustration at repeated reports that ‘disabled people are exempt’ when they are not.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calls-on-the-prime-minister-to-clear-up-bedroom-tax-confusion/The BIG give: Donate from 10:00 a.m. today and double your donation!Contact a Family has been given a great opportunity and early Christmas present this year that we thought we should share with you! You could double any donation to support our work with families with disabled children by giving through The Big Give website.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-big-give/Contact a Family calls on the chancellor of the exchequer to increase carer's allowance earnings limitFamilies with disabled children are more likely to be living in poverty than other families. It costs three times more to raise a disabled child due to additional costs such as transport, heating, food and clothing – (link to extra costs table). This is on top of the difficulty of combining work and caring – childcare cost five times more.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calls-on-the-chancellor-of-the-exchequer-to-increase-the-carers-allowance-earnings-limit-in-the-autumn-statement-on-thursday/Tips to help parents deal with their child’s Christmas stressCalls to our freephone helpline suggest that some disabled children find Christmas time difficult - especially in a mainstream school. Their familiar timetable is replaced by new 'fun' activities, like Christmas parties and concerts. Because of their disability, some children may find it hard to cope with noise, excitement or change, or may have problems controlling their emotions or behaviour. For such children, school can be a chaotic and stressful place at this time of year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tips-to-help-you-deal-with-your-childs-christmas-stress/Chancellor confirms overall cap on welfare spending will apply from 2015In yesterday’s autumn statement the chancellor confirmed that a new cap on overall government spending on welfare benefits will apply from 2015. This cap will place a limit on the total amount that the government can spend on welfare benefits, with the figure being announced in the 2014 budget.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/chancellor-confirms-overall-cap-on-welfare-spending-will-apply-from-2015/Revised timetable for introduction of universal creditThe government has announced a new timetable for the introduction of universal credit which means that this new benefit won't now apply to families in most parts of the country until 2016. Families in a small number of pilot areas will have to claim universal credit from autumn 2014 with this being subsequently extended to some parts of the north west of England. However elsewhere in Great Britain, families will still be able to claim the existing means-tested benefits rather than universal credit until some point during 2016.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/revised-timetable-for-introduction-of-universal-credit/Nearly half of families in Northern Ireland live in ‘fuel poverty’New research has found that 42 per cent of all families in Northern Ireland are living in fuel poverty. The figure is likely to be a lot higher for those who are in the home longer, such as families with disabled children. Fuel poverty is almost three times higher in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK which has social tariffs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nearly-half-of-families-in-northern-ireland-live-in-fuel-poverty/Share your festive top tips on our Facebook page!The holiday season can be great fun, but we also know that it can be a stressful time for parents of disabled children. Having to get groups of people together, sticking to a gift and food budget as well as managing everyone’s expectations can be a challenge, and in particular for families with disabled children, who already experience frequent practical, physical and emotional pressures. So through December we’re starting discussions on our Facebook page asking parents for their top tips and ways they celebrate with their family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-looking-for-your-top-festive-tips/Parents share their special Christmas: Julie's story In the first of a series of articles where parents of disabled children share their Christmas experiences, Julie from Aberdeen tells her story. Julie is mother to Alex (4 years) and Natalie (14 years). Christmas is a special time for her and her family, especially given what happened to Alex a few Christmases ago. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parents-share-their-special-christmas-julies-story/Parents share their special Christmas: Kerry's storyContinuing our series of articles where parents of disabled children share their Christmas experiences, Kerry from Truro tells us her story. Kerry lives in Truro, Cornwall with her son Morgan (14) and her daughter Lucia who will be three years old on 2 January. They always have eventful Christmases - this is their story.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parents-share-their-special-christmas-lucias-story/Families with disabled children in Scotland hit by reduction in services Services for families with disabled children in Scotland have been dramatically reduced due to budget cuts resulting in increased incidence of stress, anxiety and in some cases depression, amongst parents according to a new report. ‘It always comes down to money’, a report from Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People studied the changes in the availability of publicly funded services for parents and families of disabled children in Scotland and claims that there is a ‘shift away from preventative work to crisis intervention.’ http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/famillies-with-disabled-children-in-scotland-hit-by-cuts-to-services/Personal independence payment (PIP) to be extended to parts of southern Scotland and north England in the new year In a surprise announcement, the government has decided to increase the number of postcode areas where the new personal independence payment (PIP) replaces existing disability living allowance (DLA) awards for some adults.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/¬¬¬pip-to-be-extended-to-parts-of-southern-scotland-and-north-england-in-the-new-year/Children and families bill win - amendment to include all disabled childrenThe children and families bill for Englandl has been amended to include disabled children and young people within its scope. The bill which will become law in 2014, will make major changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) are supported. However around 25 per cent of disabled children do not have special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/children-and-families-bill-amended/Parents share their top Christmas tips on our Facebook page!We wanted to hear from parent carers this year about their top Christmas tips and favourite festive moments. So we put the word out on our Facebook page and have had some fantastic responses!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parents-share-their-top-christmas-tips-on-our-facebook-page/Looking back over 2013 at Contact a FamilyOur latest annual review is now online and it shows what a busy year it’s been at Contact a Family. The annual review covers the 12 months up to April 2013 and shows the impact we’ve had helping families with disabled children in all four nations of the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/looking-back-on-2013-at-contact-a-family/New fund for SEN champions in EnglandToday, the Department for Education has announced a new £30 million fund for more than 1,800 independent supporters to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process in England as outlined by the children and families bill.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sen-champions-in-england/We can help you with your 2014's New Year's resolution!Get fitter and healthier in 2014 AND do your bit for charity by helping us to support families of disabled children! Start training for the Silverston half marathon in March or the BUPA 10 km in May. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/got-a-new-years-resolution-we-can-help!/Help for parents worried about their child’s development Contact a Family’s latest guide, Developmental Delay, is aimed at parents worried about their child’s development or who have been told that their child has developmental delay.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-for-parents-worried-about-their-childs-development/Benefit for over 16s (PIP) to be extended to parts of ScotlandFrom this week, young people on disability living allowance in Southern Scotland or the Scottish Borders and who are turning 16 will be invited to claim the new personal independence payment (PIP).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-benefit-pip-extended-to-those-turning-16-in-parts-of-scotland/Government to close bedroom tax’ loophole’ in March Last week the government accepted that some tenants who should have been exempt from the bedroom tax have wrongly had their housing benefit cut.I f you are a council or housing association tenant who has been continuously getting housing benefit at the same property since at least 1 January 1996, you should be transitionally protected from the bedroom tax. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-to-close-bedroom-tax-loophole-in-march/Juggling work and childcare when you have a disabled childFor many parents of disabled children it's very difficult to think about paid employment, particularly if your child needs a lot of care. This week BBC radio 4 Woman’s Hour will be discussing the challenges of juggling work and being the parent-carer of a disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/juggling-work-and-childcare-when-you-have-a-disabled-child/Our experts to host an online anti-bullying workshop on 30 JanHas your child experienced bullying? Or are you concerned that your child may be suffering the effects of bullying at school? What can you do as a parent carer to help your child through it?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sign-up-to-an-online-anti-bullying-workshop-with-our-experts-on-30-jan/Make sure your child is getting the education they deserveDo you feel that your child is falling behind? Are you worried that they may not be getting the right support for their future? It’s been ‘back to school’ this month for many in England. Making sure that their child is getting the right educational support is high on the agenda for many parents. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/make-sure-your-child-is-getting-the-education-they-deserve/Sign up to our anti-bullying webinar Are you concerned that your child may be suffering the effects of bullying at school? What can you do as a parent carer to help your child through it? Sign up to Contact a Family’s anti-bullying webinar on Thursday 30 January, at 11:00am -12:00pm today to find out.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sign-up-to-our-online-session-to-help-tackle-bullying/Family take challenge to court this week: Stop the DLA Takeaway campaign updateA family whose disabled son's disability living allowance (DLA) was taken away because he was in hospital for more than 84 days will take their legal challenge against the secretary of state for work and pensions to the court of appeal later this week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/family-take-challenge-to-court-this-week-stop-the-dla-takeaway-campaign-update/Contact a Family at the Scottish ParliamentStaff from Contact a Family gave a presentation at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh earlier this week at the Children and Young People Cross Party Group. At the meeting, our welfare rights expert, Derek Sinclair, spoke to the group about Contact a Family's concerns about universal credit, its roll out and impact on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-at-the-scottish-parliament/New benefit PIP extended to over 16s in the North of England todayFrom 3 February, young people turning 16 on disability living allowance (DLA) who live in parts of the north of England will be invited to claim the new personal independence payment (PIP). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-(pip)-extended-to-over-16s-in-north-of-england/Contact a Family announces new CEOWe are delighted to announce that we have appointed of a new chief executive officer for Contact a Family, Amanda Batten. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-announces-new-ceo/Helping you and your child deal with cyberbullyingBullying comes in many forms and in recent months bullying online or 'cyberbullying' has been very much in the media spotlight. With charities warning that this type of bullying is on the rise, it's fast becoming a main concern of parents up and down the country. It can happen to any child on any social network but research shows that children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are more likely to have a negative experience online.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/helping-you-and-your-child-deal-with-cyberbullying/Children with autism are being illegally excluded from school new findings showNew research published this week by charity Ambitious about Autism, shows that four in 10 children with autism had been illegally excluded from school temporarily last year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/children-with-autism-are-being-illegally-excluded-from-school-new-findings-show/Victory for parent carers as Children and Families Bill is amendedA last minute amendment to the Children and Families Bill means that parents caring for a disabled child will be given the same right to support as those looking after a disabled adult. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/victory-for-parent-carers-as-children-and-families-bill-is-amended/Changes to the special educational needs system in England– some of your questions answeredDoes your child have a statement of special educational need or do you think they may need one? The government is making big changes to the way children with special educational needs (SEN) are supported in school. From September 2014, statements will no longer be issued and instead, a child or young person will be given an education, health and care plan.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/changes-to-the-sen-system-–-some-of-your-questions-answered/An increase in funding for parent carer forums in England The government today confirmed today that parent carer forums in England can bid for an extra £5,000 of funding for their parent carer participation grant this year, making the total they can now apply for £15,000.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/an-increase-in-funding-for-parent-carer-forums-in-england/Disappointment as disabled tenants lose bedroom tax challenge at court of appeal Today the court of appeal delivered its verdict on a challenge to the bedroom tax on the grounds that it unfairly discriminated against disabled people. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disappointment-as-disabled-tenants-lose-bedroom-tax-challenge-at-court-of-appeal/Meet our London Marathon runners!Father and son team Chris and Pete Hutchinson are running the London Marathon this year for Contact a Family. Here Chris, 57 from Hull, tells us more about how they got involved.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-our-london-marathon-runners!/How will schools in England support children with medical needs? Your views are neededFrom September 2014, a new requirement will be on school governing bodies in England to ensure they support pupils at school with medical conditions. The Department for Education has launched a consultation for parents of disabled children and others, on the draft guidance for school governing bodies. They are asking for your views by the 14 March. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-will-schools-in-england-support-children-with-medical-needs-your-views-are-needed/Government unveils measures to tackle child povertyThe government has launched its draft strategy to tackle child poverty today. The strategy sets out a range of measures such as reducing energy bills, capping water bills for low income families with three or more children and extending the free school meals programme with food vouchers. The strategy will now be put out for public consultation.The government has launched its draft strategy to tackle child poverty today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-unveils-measures-to-tackle-child-poverty/Watchdog warns introduction of PIP is plunging disabled people into ‘distress and financial difficulties’The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report today on the early progress of the Department for Work and Pensions’ new benefit, personal independence payment (PIP). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/watchdog-warns-introduction-of-pip-is-plunging-disabled-people-into-distress-and-financial-difficulties/Rare Disease Day - raising awareness about the impact of rare diseases Today marks Rare Disease Day which aims to raise awareness amongst members of the public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ and their families’ lives. One in 17 people will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their life - this amounts to approximately 3.5 million people. There are over 6,000 recognised rare diseases with 75 per cent of rare diseases affecting children. Find out more about Rare Disease Day and how to get involved.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/today-is-rare-disease-day/ Boost to Contact a Family thanks to our fundraising AmbassadorsTwelve months since the start of Contact a Family's fundraising Ambassadors programme - our fifteenth Ambassador has committed to supporting families with disabled children for three years! Our fundraising Ambassadors pledge a three year commitment of £1,000 to £50,000 to Contact a Family, to help us support disabled children and their families. In total our Ambassadors have pledged £224,500 over three years to the charity, making it our most successful major donor fundraising programme ever.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/boost-to-contact-a-family-thanks-to-our-fundraising-ambassadors/Meet Sam - another of our Virgin London Marathon runners!Sam Close from Essex will run her second marathon run for Contact a Family this year. In 2013 Sam managed to raise an amazing £2,425 for us. She hopes to beat that total this year by baking and selling cakes. She's also taken part in a charity evening where she used her professional knowledge working as a physiotherapist, to give people massages in exchange for sponsorship.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-sam-just-one-of-our-marathon-runners!/Children and families bill for England becomes the Children and Families ActToday, the children and families bill receives royal assent. This marks a landmark in how children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) in England will be supported in the future. The Children and Families Act 2014 is the culmination of over two years work with the views of parent carers at the heart. The new law will introduce a number of changes including a move from special educational needs statements to education, health and care plans.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/children-and-families-bill-for-england-receives-royal-assent/Sign up to tell George Osborne to end the care crisis The Care and Support Alliance is a campaign in England, including Contact a Family, that are asking for your help to tell Chancellor George Osborne to make investing in care services his top priority for the Budget this week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sign-up-to-tell-george-osborne-to-end-the-care-crisis/Just found out your child has additional needs? Read our guideFinding out that your child has additional needs can bring about a whole array of emotions. Whatever stage you're at on the journey with your child, this guide will give you a basic introduction to a variety of subjects and services that you may need to know about.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-edition-of-when-your-child-has-additional-needs-our-guide-for-parents-out-now!-(1)/Contact a Family calls for urgent action on childcare for disabled childrenThe government has today announced a package of extra childcare support for families, including increasing tax-free childcare, introducing a £50m early years pupil premium and covering 85 per cent of childcare costs for 300,000 of the most disadvantaged families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/extra-childcare-support-for-families/Contact a Family urges MPs to vote against including disability benefits in welfare benefit capIn today’s budget the chancellor confirmed that a new cap on overall government spending on welfare benefits will apply from 2015. The cap, which places a limit on the total amount that the government can spend on welfare benefits, has now been set at £119billion for 2015-16. There will be a vote in Parliament on the proposed welfare cap next week. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-urges-mps-to-vote-against-including-disability-benefits-in-welfare-benefit-cap/Find out why Stewart Cull is running the marathon for Contact a Family – a charity close to his heartStewart, 42 from Poole, remembers his trip to Longleat when he was about 8 years old. His mum Lynne even has a photo of the fun day out where amongst other things, Stewart got to ride a fire-engine. The trip was organised by Contact a Family for families of disabled children and was one of the many ways Stewart and his family were supported by us when he was younger.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-out-why-stewart-cull-is-running-the-marathon-for-contact-a-family-–-a-charity-close-to-his-heart/Marathon runner Leon knows just how valuable Contact a Family is for families with disabled childrenLeon Christodoulou from Chingford in London tells us why he is running this year’s London Marathon for us.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/marathon-runner-leon-knows-just-how-valuable-contact-a-family-is-for-families-with-disabled-children/Tax free childcare - what are the government's plans?Last week the government announced a package of extra help with for families with childcare costs. We asked Derek Sinclair our expert welfare adviser to explain what this will mean for parents with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tax-free-childcare-–-what-are-the-governments-plans/Housing benefit changes cause disabled people stress warn Work and Pension Committee MPsAn inquiry looking at the impact of reforms to housing costs support such as the bedroom tax concludes that housing benefit changes are causing "financial hardship and distress" for disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/housing-benefit-changes-cause-disabled-people-stress-warns-work-and-pension-committee-mps/Boost to our parent carer participation programme in EnglandContact a Family are very pleased to confirm that the Strengthening Parent Carer Participation programme in England will now continue until March 2015 having been extended by the Department for Education. This is to continue to support and strengthen parent carer participation and parent carer forums. Forums are groups of parent carers of disabled children who work with local authorities, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver truly meet the needs of disabled children and families. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/boost-to-our-parent-carer-participaton-programme!/ Carer’s allowance earnings limit to be increased from 20 MayThe government has laid new regulations making clear that the carer’s allowance earnings limit will increase from May 20th. The earnings limit is a rule that prevents a carer from receiving carer’s allowance if their earnings, after certain deductions, are more than £100 per week. From May 20th this figure will increase to £102 per week. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-allowance-earnings-limit-to-be-increased-from-20th-may/Parent carer forums responses to help the implementation of educational reform in EnglandParent carer forums were asked for their views in a survey conducted by The Department for Education, Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF). This survey was conducted to find out how parent carers had worked together with the local authority to prepare for the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms that will happen when the Children and Families Act 2014 is put into place in September 2014. We also wanted to find out whether forums felt their local area would be ready to implement these changes by the proposed date of September 2014. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carer-forums-responses-to-help-the-implementation-of-educational-reform-in-england/Moving towards a new special needs system in England Many parents have been contacting our helpline to ask for more information about how the special educational need and disabilities (SEND) reforms are going to affect their children. Until the new code of practice is published - the revised draft code of practice is currently open for consultation - it is difficult for us to say how the new system will operate in practice. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/edward-timpson-mp-on-special-educational-need-(sen)-reforms/A BIG thanks to our London Marathon runners!The team at Contact a Family would like to congratulate our brilliant runners on a fantastic achievement of running 26 miles on behalf of Contact a Family at the Virgin London Marathon! We’re incredibly proud and humbled by their dedication, hard work, training and fundraising to support our work. Collectively, all 13 runners have raised over £16,500 to help us continue supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-big-thanks-to-our-london-marathon-runners!/Delays in PIP claims highlighted by MPs from WalesRecently Susan Elan Jones MP (Labour, Clwyd South) introduced a debate in parliament on the personal independence payment (PIP) in Wales. She drew attention to the long waiting times faced by many of her constituents. In response the minister for disabled people, Mike Penning MP, said that his department – the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would pick up on all the individual cases that had been raised in the debate and asked for more to come forward.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/delays-in-pip-claims-highlighted-by-mps-from-wales/New tool to find welfare assistance schemes in your areaContact a Family’s welfare specialist, Derek Sinclair explains more about a new online tool to help parent carers of disabled children find out about local welfare assistance in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-tool-to-find-welfare-assistance-schemes-in-your-area/Complete our Counting the Costs survey and help us campaign to improve family financesContact a Family is calling on mums, dads and other family members who care for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities to take part in some important research about family finances and the impact of welfare reforms. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/complete-our-unique-counting-the-costs-survey-and-help-us-reveal-the-true-picture-of-finances-for-uk-families-with-disabled-children/Parliamentary Inquiry to shine spotlight on childcare for disabled children We are calling for evidence as a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into childcare for disabled children is launched. Although there is a noticeable political and media focus on childcare more generally, the issue of childcare for disabled children remains neglected. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parliamentary-inquiry-to-shine-spotlight-on-childcare-for-disabled-children/Sherborne Castle Country Fair supporting the work of Contact a FamilyIf you find yourself in the West Country on Monday 26th May, then why not visit the Sherborne Castle Country Fair, an event that has been supporting the work of Contact a Family, incorporating the Lady Hoare Trust, for nearly 20 years. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sherborne-castle-country-fair-supporting-the-work-of-contact-a-family/More analysis of the cumulative impact of welfare reform needed says new report The UK’s main advisory body on social security matters has recommended that the Department for Work and Pensions should carry out more analysis in order to properly assess the cumulative impact of welfare reform.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-analysis-of-the-cumulative-impact-of-welfare-reform-needed-says-new-report/Free guide to claiming Disability Living Allowance for children now availableContact a Family have published the latest version of their popular guide to claiming Disability Living Allowance for children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-guide-to-claiming-disability-living-allowance-for-children-available-from-0808-808-3555/Get a free copy of the latest edition of our Connected magazineThe latest edition of Contact a Family’s magazine Connected is out now and families with disabled children can receive a free copy!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-a-free-copy-of-the-latest-edition-of-our-connected-magazine/Bedroom tax High Court challenge starts todayA family begin their challenge to the bedroom tax at the High Court today. If successful, it could mean that bedroom tax rules are changed so that families with a disabled child who need an extra room for an overnight carer are exempt.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-high-court-challenge-starts-today/Parent carers in England making a difference to health services where they liveParents of disabled children are helping to change health services for the better in their local area, at a time of massive change in the NHS.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carers-in-england-making-a-difference-to-health-services-where-they-live/Small increase in carer’s allowance earnings limitThe carer's allowance earnings limit has increased this week, with the earnings limit increasing from £100 to £102 per week. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/small-increase-in-carers-allowance-earnings-limit/Get a free copy of Money Matters – a checklist when your child has additional needsWe know times are tough. As a parent of a child who has additional needs, you are often entitled to a number of benefits and other financial help. Our benefits expert, Derek Sinclair, has revised our free guide to money that parents may be entitled to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-a-free-copy-of-money-matters-–-a-checklist-when-your-child-has-additional-needs/Counting the Costs 2014: Help Contact a Family build the biggest ever picture of family financesThousands of families with disabled children and young people have already completed the Counting the Costs 2014 survey and Contact a Family are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/counting-the-costs-2014-help-contact-a-family-build-the-biggest-ever-picture-of-family-finances/Does your grandchild have additional needs? Get our free guide for grandparentsContact a Family has produced an updated version of the popular information guide for grandparents.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/does-your-grandchild-have-additional-needs-our-free-guide-for-grandparents-has-been-updated/Bedroom tax disappointment for families with disabled children - many still paying the priceContact a Family is extremely disappointed with today’s decision by the High Court that the bedroom tax does not discriminate against disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-disappointment-for-families-with-disabled-children-many-still-paying-the-price/Is your child being bullied? Get our free parent guide to dealing with bullyingOur popular guide to dealing with bullying for parents of disabled children has been updated by Angie Fenn, our anti-bullying expert.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-being-bullied-get-our-free-parent-guide-to-dealing-with-bullying/Childcare Payments Bill welcome but does not go far enough for families with disabled childrenIn today’s Queen’s Speech, the government has announced a Bill that will help working families with childcare costs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-response-to-queens-speech/Only one in five disabled people have received PIP claim decision government report showsThe Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the first official statistics on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) today. Their report shows that many disabled people have been waiting months to get a decision on their PIP claim.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/only-1-in-5-disabled-people-have-received-pip-claim-decision-government-report-shows/Hip hip hooray for our super cycling fundraisersThis Saturday (7 June), an adventurous group of five cyclists will be embarking on a marathon two week journey, covering over 1,000 miles on their bikes to support Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/hip-hip-hooray-for-our-super-cycling-fundraisers/Almost three quarters of mums with disabled children are forced to give up or limit their careers due to childcare problems New research from Contact a Family shows that mums of disabled children are locked out of the labour market due to a lack of affordable and good quality childcare. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/almost-three-quarters-of-mums-with-disabled-children-are-forced-to-give-up-or-limit-their-careers-due-to-childcare-problems/Our cyclists are nearly there!Last Friday 6 June our lovely team of cyclist Liz, Charles, Adie, Bas and Pippa started a wonderful journey from Land’s End to John O'Groats. Find out how they are getting on.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-cyclists-are-nearly-there!/Congratulations to our intrepid cyclists!On Sunday 22 June, our adventurous cyclists, Liz, Charles, Adie, Bas and Pippa finally finished their epic journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats to support Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-intrepid-cyclist!/One week to give evidence on new benefit for disabled young people Personal independence payment (PIP) has replaced disability living allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64 in some parts of the UK. Disabled young people and their families who have tried to claim PIP can share their views in an independent review. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/call-for-evidence-on-new-benefit-for-disabled-young-people/Campaigning on childcare for disabled childrenLast month, Contact a Family published new research which shows that third quarters of mothers with disabled children are forced to take a step back or give up careers due to childcare problems. Our campaign manager, Una Summerson gives a quick update.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/childcare-update-/Keeping Childcare in the spotlightHot on the heels of Contact a Family’s research on the Childcare Affordability Trap for families with disabled children, a House of Lords Committee on Affordable Childcare has published its call for evidence. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/keeping-childcare-in-spotlight/Disabled children failed by childcare system at every step, says inquiryA cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children has revealed widespread failures for disabled children across the childcare system. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-failed-by-childcare-system-at-every-step-says-inquiry/New system to support children with special educational needs in England from September 2014 From 1 September 2014 there will be changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) are supported. The changes are introduced in a new law called the Children and Families Act 2014. The law applies to England only. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-system-to-support-children-with-special-educational-needs-in-england-from-september-2014/School holiday childcare continues to be a big issue for familiesThe school holidays loom large next week. A new report out today highlights that one in five parents are forced away from work to cover childcare over the holiday. Catherine Tyrie, our parent adviser in the North West talks about the extra challenges of juggling holiday childcare when you have a disabled child. And why having an understanding employer (in this case Contact a Family) is so important. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/school-holiday-childcare-continues-to-be-a-big-issue-for-families/Have you been sent a tax credit renewal form? Don't forget the deadline this ThursdayIf you've been sent a tax credits annual declaration form, you must remember to take action by 31 July - this Thursday.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-you-been-sent-a-tax-credit-renewal-form-dont-forget-the-deadline-this-thursday/Great news! Supreme Court to hear DLA takeaway appealContact a Family is delighted that a family has been granted the right to appeal in the Supreme Court the decision to remove their son’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) when he was in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/great-news!-supreme-court-to-hear-dla-takeaway-appeal/Deadline for Tax Credit renewals extended to 6th AugustHMRC have announced that they will extend the deadline for renewing a tax credit claim to Wednesday 6th August. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/deadline-for-tax-credit-renewals-extended-to-6th-august/Get our free guide to social care services for children in EnglandLocal authorities have a legal responsibility to help families with disabled children, and they can support families in a number of ways. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-our-free-guide-to-social-care-services-for-children-in-england/Contact a Family Ealing and Southall celebrates 30 years helping families with disabled childrenLocal MP for Ealing and Southall Virendra Sharma joined in the celebrations, as families and children enjoyed a bouncy castle, disco dancing and party food.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-ealing-and-southall-celebrates-30-years-helping-families-with-disabled-children/Will 'family test' make a difference? Contact a Family listens to prime minister talk at Relationships Alliance summit Contact a Family listened to the prime minister set out plans to help families stay together.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/will-family-test-help-disabled-children/School's out - act now to make sure you don't lose your tax creditsIf you have a 16, 18 or 19 year old who is staying on in approved education or training after the summer holidays, remember to let the tax credits office know or you could lose out on tax credits payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/schools-out-act-now-to-make-sure-you-dont-lose-your-tax-credits/Changes to special educational needs system start todayToday a new law comes into place in England which changes the way children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) receive support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/changes-to-special-educational-needs-system-start-today/Help us improve our helpline and online servicesYou can help us support thousands of families each year by taking part in our online services and helpline survey.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-improve-our-helpline-and-online-services/Sky daredevils raise £2,000 for Contact a FamilyThis morning five courageous members of our team are diving from the sky at 10,000ft to raise over £2,000 for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sky-daredevils-raise-2000-for-contact-a-family/MPs vote in support of bedroom tax exemptionsContact a Family is pleased that on Friday 5 September MPs voted in support of a bill to partly overturn bedroom tax.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mps-vote-in-support-of-bedroom-tax-exemptions/Tell the chancellor how he can help youThe government has published a consultation ahead of the chancellor's Autumn Statement.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-the-chancellor-how-he-can-help-you/Latest PIP statistics support families' reports of delaysToday the government has released the latest statistics on personal independence payment (PIP), a benefit we’re trying to improve by highlighting families’ experiences of the PIP process.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-pip-feedback-helps-us-campaign-as-new-statistics-are-released/Have your work displayed in Contact a Family's photo exhibitionOur fundraising team at Contact a Family is organising a photography exhibition in the heart of London and wants you to take part. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-your-work-displayed-in-contact-a-familys-photo-exhibition/Parent carers to come together for national participation eventParent carers will have the chance to share their approach to shaping local services at our 2014 national parent carer participation event. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carers-to-come-together-for-national-participation-event/Five days to complete our free advice service surveyThanks to everyone who has completed our helpline and online services survey. If you haven't yet done so, there are five days left to help us improve our advice service.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/one-week-to-complete-our-free-advice-service-survey/Read our latest information guidesDid you know that Contact a Family produces an extensive range of resources packed full of useful advice? Find out how to download our new and updated resources for free.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/read-our-latest-information-guides/Contact a Family's latest and upcoming eventsOne of the ways Contact a Family supports families is by organising parties, day trips and workshops. Find out about our latest events and what we've got coming up.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-latest-and-upcoming-events/Tomorrow's national minimum wage rise might affect some carersContact a Family is here to support parent carers who may be affected by tomorrow's national minimum wage rise.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tomorrows-national-minimum-wage-rise-may-affect-some-carers/Over 150 parent carers gather for our national participation eventOver 150 parent carers gathered for an event in London this week to share their approaches to participating in local services for disabled children. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/over-150-parent-carers-gather-for-our-national-participation-event/NHS England introduces personal health budgetsThe NHS in England has given certain adults and children receiving continuing care the right to choose how their health budget is spent.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nhs-england-introduces-personal-health-budgets/Carer's allowance earnings limit to increase to £110 from April 2015Following a campaign by Contact a Family, the government has announced that the carer’s allowance earnings limit will increase to £110 a week from April 2015.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-allowance-earnings-limit-to-increase-to-110-from-april-2015/A fabulous evening with fabulous peopleContact a Family was proud to benefit from an evening of dining and dancing last Saturday at a fundraising event called Fabulous People, which took place in Cricklewood, North West London.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-fabulous-evening-with-fabulous-people/Join our running family at next year's London MarathonMissed out on your ballot place for London Marathon 2015? Then come join our running family and help us support families with disabled children throughout the UK! Our places are going fast...http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-running-family/Thanks to everyone who completed our helpline surveyWe want to say a huge thank you to everyone who completed our helpline and online services survey last month. Your comments will shape the support we offer to thousands of other families and demonstrate to funders how vital their contributions are.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thanks-to-everyone-who-completed-our-helpline-survey/15 years of Contact a Family in WalesLocal families and children with disabilities and additional needs helped us celebrate 15 years of working in Wales at a brilliant birthday party on Sunday 12 October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/local-families-and-children-celebrate-15-years-of-contact-a-family-in-wales/Fun-filled zoo trip brings families togetherFamilies from Suffolk and Norfolk with children who have disabilities or additional needs attended an exclusive event at Banham Zoo on Saturday 18 October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/fun-filled-zoo-trip-brings-families-together-to-talk-about-our-service/Personal independence payment extended to four additional areasThe Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to be rolled out next month to existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants in four additional areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-extended-in-four-additional-areas/Watch a video from our parent participation national eventEarlier this month over 150 parent carers gathered in London to share their approaches to participating in local services for disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/watch-a-video-from-our-parent-participation-national-event/Call us for a free copy of Connected magazineThe latest edition of Contact a Family's magazine Connected is out now and families with disabled children can call for a free copy.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/call-us-for-a-free-copy-of-connected-magazine/Join a Contact a Family eventOne way we support families with disabled children is through our extensive events programme.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-a-contact-a-family-event/Meet one of our helpline's education specialist Jill DaviesWe talk to our helpline's education advice service manager, Jill Davies, about the new special educational needs (SEN) system in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-our-helplines-education-specialist-jill-davies/Renewed funding for parent carer forums in EnglandThe government has today confirmed that parent carer forums in England will each be able to receive £15,000 in 2015-16.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/renewed-funding-for-parent-forums-in-england/Top healthcare innovator award for our parent carer participation managerContact a Family is delighted to announce that our Parent Carer Participation Manager Sheila Davies has been included in the Health Service Journal’s Top Innovators in Healthcare list.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/top-healthcare-innovator-award-for-our-parent-carer-participation-manager/Contact a Family publications get fresh new lookDid you know that Contact a Family has an extensive range of resources packed full of useful advice?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-publications-get-fresh-new-look/Tell us your experience of accessing local servicesAs part of a project we’re working on with the SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) Consortium, we want to hear your experiences of accessing local services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-us-your-experience-of-accessing-local-services/Contact a Family's recommendations in CAMHS reportRecommendations we made for disabled children are reflected in the Health Select Committee's report calling for improvements to mental health services for children and young people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-recommendations-in-camhs-report/Anti-Bullying Week 2014 is comingMonday 17 – Friday 21 November is Anti Bullying Week 2014, and to get involved we’ll be sharing lots of resources to help families whose disabled children are affected by bullying.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/anti-bullying-week-2014-is-coming/Don't forget to claim Cold Weather PaymentsIf you have a disabled child or child under five living with you and you get either Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit you’re eligible for Cold Weather Payments.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-forget-to-claim-cold-weather-payments/Discover Anti-Bullying Week 2014 with Contact a FamilyAnti-Bullying Week is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, of which Contact a Family is a member. This year’s theme is to stop bullying of all children and young people, including disabled children and those with special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/discover-our-anti-bullying-week-2014-resources/Personal Independence Payment extended to new areas from todayFrom 17 November, young people on disability living allowance (DLA) who are turning 16 will be asked to claim personal independence payment (PIP) if they live in Huddersfield, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, the Wirral, Cheshire West or other surrounding areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-extended-to-new-areas-from-today/Contact a Family patrons host fundraising dinner to raise money for families Earlier this month Nick and Sarah Crean – patrons, dedicated fundraisers and parents of Georgia, who has complex needs – hosted an intimate dinner raising over £16,000 for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-patrons-hold-glitzy-fundraising-dinner-to-raise-money-for-families/Act quickly to stop bullying - a dad tells his storyAs part of Anti-Bullying Week 2014, we share this dad’s story from our Connected magazine about his and his daughter’s experiences of bullying and what they did to stop it.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/act-quickly-to-stop-bullying-a-dad-tells-his-story/Contact a Family gave me support - a parent shares her bullying storyAs part of Anti-Bullying Week 2014, we share this mum's story from our Connected magazine about how Contact a Family helped to resolve her daughter's bullying issues.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-gave-me-support-a-parent-shares-her-bullying-story/Contact a Family launches Counting the Costs campaignShaped by feedback from over 3,500 families, we're urging energy companies and the government to address a sharp increase in families with disabled children going without heating and food.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-launches-counting-the-costs-campaign/Counting the Costs campaign launched at parliamentary eventYesterday Contact a Family launched its Counting the Costs campaign at an event hosted by Anne Begg MP at the Houses of Parliament.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/counting-the-costs-campaign-launched-at-parliamentary-event/Campaign with us to end extra costs for familiesThis week we launched our Counting the Costs campaign to ease the financial pressure on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/campaign-with-us-to-end-extra-costs-for-families/Campaign with us on Carers Rights DayToday, Friday 28 November, is Carers Rights Day, which celebrates everything carers do and aims to raise awareness among carers of their rights and entitlements.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/campaign-with-us-on-carers-rights-day/Our latest resources to help families going without the basicsTo support our Counting the Costs campaign, calling on the UK government to halt a rise in families with disabled children going without the basics, we have a range of resources to help ease the financial pressure.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-latest-resources-to-help-families-going-without-the-basics/Initial Universal Credit rollout exempts parents of disabled childrenParents with disabled children will not have to claim Universal Credit when it is first rolled out to families in pilot areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/initial-universal-credit-rollout-exempts-parents-of-disabled-children/Double your Contact a Family donation with the Big GiveYou could double any donation to support our work with families with disabled children by giving through the Big Give website. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/double-your-contact-a-family-donation-with-the-big-give/Carer's Allowance online claim service launches this weekThe Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new online application service for Carer’s Allowance. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-allowance-online-claim-service-launches-this-week/Contact a Family's response to the government's Autumn StatementContact a Family warns that families with disabled children are not benefiting from the economic growth reported in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-response-to-the-governments-autumn-statement/Big Give starts today - double your Contact a Family donationFrom 10am today you could double any donation to support our work with families with disabled children by giving through The Big Give website.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-give-starts-today-double-your-contact-a-family-donation/How the Autumn Statement changes the benefits systemYesterday's Autumn Statement included a number of changes to the benefits and tax credits system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-the-autumn-statement-changes-the-benefits-sytem/Counting the Costs campaign launches in Scotland and Northern IrelandOur Counting the Costs campaign to stop families with disabled children going with the basics was launched in Scotland and Northern Ireland this week at two parliamentary events.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/counting-the-costs-campaign-launches-in-scotland-and-northern-ireland/Contact a Family raises over £4,000 through the Big GiveIn just a few days and thanks to our wonderful supporters, we've received an incredible £4,228.35.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-raises-over-4000-in-the-big-give/Financial help to stay warm at home this winterThe Warm Home Discount Scheme may be able to help families in England, Scotland and Wales cut bills this winter with a rebate worth up to £140. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/financial-help-to-stay-warm-at-home-this-winter/"People don't realise having a disabled child can cost so much more"Karen from Flint, Wales, tells us how uneven the playing field can be if your child is disabled and why our Counting the Costs campaign is so important.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/people-dont-realise-having-a-disabled-child-can-cost-so-much-more/Our festive stress-busting tips to help you this ChristmasWe’ve compiled some festive tips and ideas to help you manage your stress levels this Christmas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/keep-your-stress-to-a-minimum-this-christmas/"Going without food means my health has suffered"Our Counting the Costs campaign aims to stop carers like Ellen suffering ill health as a result of going without the basics.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/going-without-food-means-my-health-has-suffered/Looking back over the last year with Contact a FamilyOur Annual Review 2013/14 has now been published and is available for you to read online.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/looking-back-at-the-last-year-with-contact-a-family/Join our campaign as MPs debate bedroom tax todayToday MPs will debate the housing benefit size criteria rules also known as the bedroom tax. Join our Counting the Costs campaign to change this unfair law.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-campaign-as-mps-debate-bedroom-tax-today/Personal independence payment rolled out to new areas from JanuaryYesterday the government announced that from 26 January in certain areas, young people claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) who are turning 16 will be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-rolled-out-to-new-areas-from-january/Stop families going without the basics this ChristmasSince our Counting the Costs campaign launched, 979 people have taken the campaign action and 40 MPs have given us their support. Take action this Christmas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/stop-families-going-without-the-basics-this-christmas/Get advice and meet other families at a Contact a Family eventOur information sessions, family fun days and seasonal activities give families the chance to get together and share their experiences.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-advice-and-meeting-other-families-at-a-contact-a-family-event/Our resources will make sure you're claiming everything you're entitled toBecause money’s usually tight after the festive season, we’ve put together a range of resources to help you check that you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to this winter.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/make-sure-youre-claiming-everything-youre-entitled-to-with-our-resources/Subscribe to our professionals e-newsletterDid you know that Contact a Family also helps professionals working with families with disabled children?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/subscribe-to-our-professionals-e-newsletter/Contact a Family supports launch of Children's Bill in Northern IrelandA Northern Ireland parliamentary bill supported since its inception by Contact a Family was this week officially launched in the Long Gallery at Stormont.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-supports-launch-of-childrens-bill-in-northern-ireland/Counting the Costs of high energy billsOur Counting the Costs campaign is calling on energy companies to do more for families with disabled people, having found that a third of surveyed families are going without heating.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/counting-the-costs-of-high-energy-bills/SENDirect website launched to help families find servicesToday, Wednesday 21 January, Contact a Family and nine other leading UK disability charities will launch SENDirect, a website to help families access local special educational needs and disabilities services for their child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sendirect-website-launched-to-help-families-find-services/"Worrying about the bills means I feel stressed and anxious"Support our Counting the Costs campaign as new report shows that the Big Six energy companies are again failing customers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/worrying-about-the-bills-means-i-feel-stressed-and-anxious/Visit our photo exhibition celebrating family lifeWe’re excited to announce that our photo exhibition celebrating the everyday lives of families with disabled children will open to the public next week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/visit-our-photo-exhibition-celebrating-family-life/New resource to help you challenge short break cutsEvery Disabled Child Matters (EDCM), a campaign group of which Contact a Family is a member, this week published a resource to help parent carers challenge cuts to short break services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-resource-to-help-you-challenge-short-break-cuts/Personal Independence Payment rolled out to more areas tomorrowFrom 26 January, young people on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) who are turning 16 will be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if they live in certain areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-extended-to-more-areas-tomorrow/Samantha Cameron joins our celebration of family lifeThis morning Samantha Cameron invited two families to breakfast in Downing Street today as part of Contact a Family’s celebration of the everyday lives of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/samantha-cameron-joins-our-celebration-of-family-life/Our Pictures from Home exhibition opens todayToday marks the public opening of our Pictures from Home exhibition, a collection a photographs celebrating the everyday lives of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-pictures-from-home-exhibition-opens-today/New handbook for parent carer forumsContact a Family has published a new parent carer forum handbook with information on all aspects of running a parent carer forum.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-handbook-for-parent-carer-forums/Contact a Family responds to Katie Price story on school transportSchool transport has been a talking point in the newspapers this week, and it's one of the top issues for parents who call our helpline.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-katie-price-story-on-school-transport/Parent carer forum chair awarded MBEPat Bolton, the chairperson of the Gateshead parent carer forum who also founded an ADHD support group, has received an MBE for services to families of disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-carer-forum-chair-awarded-mbe/More areas to get Personal Independence Payments in FebruaryThe government has announced that Personal Independence Payment will be extended to existing Disability Living Allowance claimants in 18 new postcode areas from February.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-areas-to-get-personal-independence-payments-in-february/Free guides for parents who call our helplineWe know from listening to parents that regardless of the type of disability, health condition or additional need their child has, parents want information, support and advice.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-guides-for-parents-who-call-our-helpline/Disabilities e-learning website launched todayContact a Family is involved in the launch of a new website designed to help UK employers promote disability awareness in the workplace.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabilities-e-learning-website-launched-today/Contact a Family responds to National Audit Office care reportA report published today by the National Audit Office reveals that the government is failing to move people with learning disabilities out of treatment and assessment units.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-national-audit-office-care-report/Success for our Counting the Costs campaignThe government is extending the Warm Home Discount Scheme and standardising it across suppliers, making it easier for low income families with disabled children to get the rebate.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/success-for-our-counting-the-costs-campaign/Over 150 visitors to our Pictures from Home exhibitionThank you to everyone who came to our Pictures from Home exhibition last week and made the event a huge success.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/over-150-visitors-to-our-pictures-from-home-exhibition/Contact a Family supports families facing discretionary payment cutsA hardship fund to help tenants affected by the bedroom tax is being cut by nearly a quarter.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-supports-families-facing-discretionary-payment-cuts/More success for our Counting the Costs campaign as childcare scheme extendedLast week we reported the first signs of success for our Counting the Costs campaign, and today we've achieved another win in our campaign to stop families with disabled children going without the basics.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-success-for-our-counting-the-costs-campaign-as-childcare-scheme-extended/Contact a Family CEO speaks at launch of Family Room ManifestoYesterday at parliament Contact a Family CEO Amanda Batten helped launch a manifesto calling for more support for families across the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-ceo-speaks-at-launch-of-family-room-manifesto/Tax-free childcare scheme - what are the government's plans?Derek Sinclair, our welfare adviser, explains the government's announcement this week to extend support to families with disabled children under the tax free childcare scheme.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tax-free-childcare-scheme-what-are-the-governments-plans/Visit our new Family Life advice pagesWe know from speaking to families that a bit of advice goes a long way. That's why we've added a whole new section to our website with tips to help all members of the family support each other and their disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/visit-our-new-family-life-advice-pages/Initial Universal Credit rollout won't affect families with disabled childrenThe government has this week started the rollout of Universal Credit,and Contact a Family is relieved that families with disabled children will not initially be affected.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/this-weeks-universal-credit-rollout-wont-affect-disabled-children/BBC News highlights cuts to essential health services for disabled childrenBBC News has this evening run a feature about cuts to essential health services and long waiting times for paediatric disability services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bbc-news-highlights-cuts-to-essential-health-services-for-disabled-children/Personal Independence Payment reassessments start in 18 new areas from todayFrom today, Personal Independence Payment reassessments are being extended to 18 new postcode areas across the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-reassessments-start-in-18-new-areas-from-today/Meet other parents and carers at a Contact a Family eventIf you’re interested in meeting other parent carers, why not come along to one of our family fun days, workshops and information sessions?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-other-parents-and-carers-at-a-contact-a-family-event/"By the time I pay for heating and food, we have nothing left."Our Counting the Costs campaign is calling for the UK government to do more to stop families with disabled children going without the basics.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/by-the-time-i-pay-for-heating-and-food-we-have-nothing-left/Raising awareness on Rare Disease DayTomorrow, Saturday 28 February, is Rare Disease Day, and we’ll be using the occasion to share some useful resources on our Facebook and Twitter pages.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/raising-awareness-on-rare-disease-day/You can help us improve our helpline and online servicesHelp us reach out to thousands more families with disabled children by giving us your feedback in our online services and helpline survey.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/you-can-help-us-improve-our-helpline-and-online-services/Free guides for parents and carersWe know how busy parents are, so we’re working on summaries of some of our most popular guides, to give you a flavour of what’s in them and whether they’re relevant for your situation.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-guides-for-parents-and-carers/Resources for parent support groups in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and WalesWe've recently updated our Group Action Pack, a free resource for parent support groups in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/resources-for-parent-support-groups-in-england-scotland-northern-ireland-and-wales/Don't miss out on life-changing DLA helpAs part of our Counting the Costs campaign, Contact a Family wants to make sure families aren’t missing out on millions of pounds of extra income because they don’t claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-miss-out-on-life-changing-dla-help/Our independent supporter writes about her work with familiesMeagan Leggett, one of Contact a Family’s independent supporters, has written a blog post describing how she supports families through the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-independent-supporter-writes-about-her-work-with-families/Contact a Family in round table talk on energy costsToday Contact a Family’s policy team will attend a roundtable talk with British Gas to find ways to help families with disabled children facing high energy costs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-in-roundtable-talk-on-energy-costs/Busting myths about Disability Living Allowance eligibilityToday we’re going to bust some of the myths surrounding DLA. Our Counting the Costs campaign has found that it is not a lack of awareness preventing families claiming DLA when they should be. Instead, there is a lot of confusion about who is entitled.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/busting-myths-about-disability-living-allowance-eligibility/Visit our online 'Pictures from Home' photo galleries If you weren't able to visit our Pictures from Home exhibition in January, you can now see a selection of the featured works on our website.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/visit-our-online-pictures-from-home-photo-galleries/Islwyn MP joins our London Marathon team of runners to help Welsh familiesWe’re celebrating Contact a Family’s team of London Marathon runners in the lead-up to the big event with a series of weekly stories about their achievements.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/islwyn-mp-joins-our-london-marathon-team-of-runners-to-help-welsh-families/Government opens consultation on rights of disabled people proposalsThe government has opened a public consultation on new proposals to give more rights to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-opens-consultation-on-rights-of-disabled-people-proposals/Contact a Family responds to Chancellor's budgetContact a Family welcomes extra funding for child mental health services, but warns against further benefit cuts for families with disabled childrenhttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-chancellors-budget/Our DLA month is making a differenceIn this article we'll see how calling our helpline can make a real difference to family income. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-dla-month-is-making-a-difference/Personal Independence Payment rolled out to new areas The government has announced that at the end of March PIP will be extended to existing DLA claimants who are turning 16 in a further 10 new postcode areas. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-rolled-out-to-new-areas/Big thanks to young fundraising starA young sibling who modelled alongside Ellie Simmonds for Sainsbury’s has donated his fee to Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-thanks-to-young-fundraising-star/Tooting Bec mum up for London Marathon challengeWe're celebrating Contact a Family's team of runners in the lead-up to the London Marathon with a series of weekly stories about their lives. We continue the run with this article about Julia from Tooting Bec. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tooting-bec-mum-up-for-london-marathon-challenge/Landmark DLA takeaway case heard at Supreme Court this weekA family from Warrington will challenge the government rule that removed their hospitalised son’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the Supreme Court this Thursday 26 March.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/landmark-dla-takeaway-case-heard-at-supreme-court-this-week/One week to complete our helpline and online services surveyHave you recently called our helpline or used our website for advice and support on caring for your child? If we’ve been able to help you, we’d love for you to help us.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/one-week-to-complete-our-helpline-and-online-services-survey/Contact a Family awarded Department for Education contractContact a Family is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a contract by the Department for Education to continue supporting parent carers as they participate in the SEND reforms. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-awarded-department-for-education-contract/Growing support for the Mathieson family as they attend Supreme Court todayOver 2000 people have already signed our petition to show support for the Mathieson family who were in the Supreme Court today to challenge the government’s decision to remove Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from their hospitalised son.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/growing-support-for-the-mathieson-family-as-they-attend-supreme-court-today/Your chance to improve how health professionals give you informationContact a Family is working with Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity to find out how health professionals talk to families about important news such as a diagnosis, treatment and procedure.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-chance-to-improve-how-health-professionals-give-you-information/Personal Independence Payment hits new areas todayTen areas of the country will from today, Monday 30 March, introduce Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants turning 16.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-hits-new-areas-today/Hertfordshire friends take on London Marathon for Contact a FamilyWe're celebrating Contact a Family's team of runners in the lead-up to the London Marathon with a series of weekly stories about their achievements. Today it's the turn of two friends from Harpenden who work with local families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/hertfordshire-friends-take-on-london-marathon-for-contact-a-family/Court finds council acted unlawfully treating DLA as means to meet shortfall in housing benefitThe High Court has found that Sandwell Council acted unlawfully in taking the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) into account as income when assessing applications for a Discretionary Housing Payment from people affected by the bedroom tax.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/court-finds-council-acted-unlawfully-treating-dla-as-means-to-meet-shortfall-in-housing-benefit/Care Act 2014 comes into force in England todayToday, 1 April 2015, the Care Act 2014 comes into force. This new law affects disabled young people in transition, disabled adults and their carers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/care-act-2014-comes-into-force-in-england-today/Thousands helped during our Love DLA monthWe're delighted by the response to Love DLA so far and want to share how together we are making a big difference to families missing out on DLA.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thousands-helped-during-our-love-dla-month/Carer’s Allowance earnings limit increased to £110 per week The government is today, 6 April 2015, increasing the Carer's Allowance earnings limit from £102 to £110 a week from today. Contact a Family has been campaigning on this issue.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-allowance-earnings-limit-increased-to-110-per-week/Timetable for roll out of PIP to rest of Britain is announcedThe Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed the timetable for the roll out of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to the rest of Great Britain.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/timetable-for-roll-out-of-pip-to-rest-of-britain-is-announced/New free guides for parentsDid you know that Contact a Family produces a range of resources full of free, useful information for parents to download or order in print?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-free-guides-for-parents/"Life's a journey, not a destination" - a parent's story about her son's rare conditionOur Connected Spring 2015 magazine is now available to download or order, and to give you sneak peak we’re sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/lifes-a-journey-not-a-destination-a-parents-story-about-her-sons-rare-condition/West Country running pals clock up 8 marathons between them Jon Morcom from Devon and David Jones from Cornwall just can’t get enough of running marathons for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/west-country-running-pals-clock-up-8-marathons-between-them/Listen to our DLA myth-busting podcastTo accompany our recent DLA myth-busting news story, our benefits expert Derek Sinclair has made a podcast about some of the misconceptions that are preventing parents from claiming DLA.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/listen-to-our-dla-myth-busting-podcast/Contact a Family patron encourages disabled people to voteThere are millions of disabled people and their carers in the UK. If we all registered to vote, and did vote in the general election, it could decide the outcome.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-patron-encourages-disabled-people-to-vote/Contact a Family CEO takes on Hackney Half MarathonBreezing her way past the famous Hackney Empire next month, our CEO Amanda Batten will be raising funds for Contact a Family by joining thousands of runners pounding the East London streets.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-ceo-takes-on-hackney-half-marathon/How a hair appointment led to Mark's first ever marathonMark Guerrini, who works in the Toni and Guy Salon in Chelmsford, will be fulfilling a life-long ambition later this month when he runs his first ever London Marathon for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-a-hair-appointment-led-to-marks-first-ever-marathon/Disability Living Allowance and other benefitsDisability Living Allowance (DLA) helps cover the extra costs that result from having a disability and is the main benefit for disabled children. However, getting DLA can also lead to an increase in other benefits or help you qualify for other entitlements.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disability-living-allowance-and-other-benefits/The story of the Pitt Hopkins syndrome support groupOur Connected Spring 2015 magazine [PDF] is now available to download or order, and to give you sneak peek we're sharing Sue's story about setting up the first ever Pitt Hopkins support group.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-just-wanted-to-talk-to-other-parents-the-story-of-the-pitt-hopkins-syndrome-support-group/Come and support our Marathon runners this SundayThis Sunday 26 April an inspiring group of fundraisers will be pounding the streets of the capital to run the Virgin London Marathon for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/come-and-support-our-marathon-runners-this-sunday/Our anti-bullying work to continue after funding awardWe are delighted to announce that the Department for Education will continue to fund our work with the Anti-Bullying Alliance for another year. This project is tackling the bullying of children with special educational needs and disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-anti-bullying-work-to-continue-after-funding-award/There's no shame claiming the financial support your child is entitled toIf you’ve already seen our Love DLA infographic, you’ll know that of 481 surveyed parents not claiming DLA, 18% said they felt uneasy claiming benefits for their child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/theres-no-shame-claiming-the-financial-support-your-child-is-entitled-to/Contact a Family's education helpline gets funding boostThe special educational needs (SEN) experts on Contact a Family's helpline, who last year answered more than 3,400 enquiries from parents worried about their child's education and disability issues, have received funding from the Freemasons to continue their work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-education-helpline-gets-funding-boost/Find a support group near you with our interactive mapToday, 24 April 2015, is Undiagnosed Children’s Day, a nationwide event to increase awareness of undiagnosed genetic conditions. It is estimated that 6,000 disabled children are born each year with a general condition that will not be diagnosed.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-a-support-group-near-you-with-our-interactive-map/Inspiring marathon runners raise £24k for Contact a FamilyWell done and a big thank you to all our inspiring runners who completed the London Marathon yesterday. Between them they raised a brilliant £24,047 that will fund our work supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/inspiring-marathon-runners-raise-24k-for-contact-a-family/Find a Contact a Family event where you liveParents tell us that one of the most important sources of support comes from meeting other families. Contact a Family regularly puts on events, family fun days and workshops so parents can get together while receiving advice about their child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-a-contact-a-family-event-where-you-live/Thanks for sharing your feedback with usThank you to everyone who took part in our survey in March 2015 about our online and helpline advice services. By sharing your feedback you’ve allowed us demonstrate to funders how vital their support is and helped us see where we can make improvements to our information.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thanks-for-sharing-your-feedback-with-us/Professionals – make sure you tell families about DLAAs part of our Counting the Costs campaign, Contact a Family wants to make sure families aren't missing out on millions of pounds of extra income because they don't claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA). We're delighted by the response to Love DLA [PDF] from families, and now we are now calling on professionals to get involved.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/professionals-–-make-sure-you-tell-families-about-dla/Advice from Contact a Family on Global Development Delay Awareness DayToday, Friday 1 May, is Global Developmental Delay Awareness Day, and Contact a Family is showing its support by letting parents know what advice and information is there for them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-advice-from-contact-a-family-on-global-development-delay-day/Contact a Family's view on welfare debateThe main political parties take part in a welfare debate this afternoon on the BBC Daily Politics show. Contact a Family will be watching closely to see what they have to say about future plans for financial support for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-view-on-welfare-debate/Extra tax credit payments if you're claiming DLAEvery year the Contact a Family helpline talks to a number of parents who are missing out on at least £60 per week because they haven’t told the tax credits office that their child is getting Disability Living Allowance. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/extra-tax-credit-payments-if-youre-claiming-dla/Every vote counts - make your voice heardThere are millions of disabled people and their carers in the UK. If they all voted in the general election, it could decide the outcome. Contact a Family encourages all families with disabled children to make their voice heard in this election.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/every-vote-counts-make-your-voice-heard/Tell us your experiences and shape our campaigning workHere at Contact a Family we are asking mums, dads and other family members who care for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities to take part in some important research about changes to local services in your area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-us-your-experiences-and-shape-our-campaigning-work/Our CEO nears half marathon challenge to raise money for Contact a FamilyThere are just two days to go before Contact a Family’s CEO takes on the Hackney Half Marathon to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-ceo-nears-half-marathon-challenge-to-raise-money-for-contact-a-family/Well done to our CEO for raising £1500 for Contact a FamilyWell done to our dedicated CEO Amanda Batten who has completed the Hackney Half Marathon for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/well-done-to-our-ceo-for-raising-1500-for-contact-a-family/Join a summer solstice walk to raise money for Contact a FamilyWould you like to celebrate the arrival of summer with a scenic walk along a beautiful stretch of the Thames while raising money for families with disabled children? http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-a-summer-solstice-walk-to-raise-money-for-contact-a-family/We launch our new strategic planWe are delighted to share with you our Strategic Plan 2015-2020 – our vision for our next five years supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-launch-our-new-strategic-plan/Tell us how we can influence the government as parliament opens todayAs the House of Commons meets today for the first time since the General Election on 7 May, we’re asking families to tell us what our campaigning priorities should be for the new parliament by completing our Family Support Census.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-us-how-we-can-influence-the-government-as-parliament-opens-today/Disabled children and their families meet the penguins at London Zoo 23 families from Lambeth joined us for a fun family day at London Zoo on Saturday.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-and-their-families-meet-the-penguins-at-london-zoo/We’re celebrating National Epilepsy Week 2015We’re celebrating National Epilepsy Week 2015 (17-23 May) by raising awareness about the experience of living with an epileptic child and some of the support available.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-celebrating-national-epilepsy-week-2015/People with Autism and ADHD in Wales promised better supportHealth Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that £2 million will be spent towards cutting waiting times for young people with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/people-with-autism-and-adhd-in-wales-promised-better-support/Little has changed for victims of disability hate crime says new reportA report published today says that victims of disability hate crime are still being let down by the justice system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/little-has-changed-for-victims-of-disability-hate-crime-says-new-report/Focus groups share experiences of changes to local servicesThis week, as part of our research into changes to local services, we ran two focus groups where families shared their experiences. The focus groups follow the themes in our Family Support Census, a survey on changes to local services for disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/focus-groups-share-experiences-of-changes-to-local-services/Make friends with other families at one of our eventsWe have a number of events coming up over the next few weeks for families who want to meet others with a disabled child. Our events, which range from information sessions, day trips and fun activities, bring families together for friendship and emotional support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/make-friends-with-other-families-at-one-of-our-events/Personal Independence Payment arrives in more areas this weekFrom this week, existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants turning 16 will be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a further 12 postcode areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-arrives-in-more-areas-this-week/Queen's speech: childcare offer could leave families with disabled children further behindToday's Queen's Speech proposal to double the number of hours of free childcare is great in principle, but could leave mums with disabled children out in the cold of employment choices.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/queens-speech-childcare-offer-could-leave-families-with-disabled-children-further-behind/Queen's speech: benefits freeze means families with disabled children worse offToday the government announced the Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill with proposals affecting the benefits system in the UK.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/queens-speech-benefits-freeze-means-families-with-disabled-children-worse-off/Help us campaign for shorter waiting times and better servicesWe’re asking families to complete our Family Support Census to help us campaign. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-campaign-for-shorter-waiting-times-and-better-services/Fundraising gig to raise money for families with disabled childrenJoin us next Tuesday, 2 June, as trendy London nightspot the Notting Hill Arts Club opens its doors for a special musical fundraiser to raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/fundraising-gig-to-raise-money-for-families-with-disabled-children/Visit our new Family Life Plus relationship support siteToday we launch Family Life Plus, a relationship support site for new parents raising a child with a disability.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/visit-our-new-family-life-plus-relationship-support-site/Brand new guides for parents from Contact a FamilyOur new UK-wide guide, Moving into work, developed with parents, can help you decide if moving into work is right for you, and what support is available at work to manage working and caring for your disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/brand-new-guides-for-parents-from-contact-a-family/Help us campaign for better support for carersWe’re asking families to complete our Family Support Census, a questionnaire about changes to local services. Your answers will provide real evidence that will shape our campaign work. One area we are looking at is help for you as a carer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-campaign-for-better-support-for-carers/Celebrate Dowser Day and support the Mathiesons' court battleOn Friday 19 June we’re asking families to help us raise awareness about children who’ve spent time in hospital and the challenges they and their families face.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/celebrate-dowser-day-and-support-the-mathiesons-court-battle/Carers Week focuses on building carer friendly communitiesIt’s Carers Week from 8-14 June. The theme this year is building carer friendly communities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-week-focuses-on-building-carer-friendly-communities/Big Lottery Funding Fantastic News for North EastContact a Family is delighted to announce we have been awarded more than £400,000 by the Big Lottery Fund towards our “Keeping Families Informed” project in the North East of England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-lottery-funding-fantastic-news-for-north-east/Help us campaign for a better standard of living for familiesWe’re asking families to tell us what our campaigning priorities should be for the new parliament by completing our Family Support Census, a survey about changes to local services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-us-campaign-for-a-better-standard-of-living-for-families/Fathers – share your parenting tips!As part of Fathers’ Story Week we’re asking dads to share with us you top parenting tips and advice.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/fathers-–-share-your-parenting-tips!/Mortgage support for benefit claimants to be reducedThe amount that benefit claimants receive to help meet their mortgage interest payments will reduce from July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mortgage-support-for-benefit-claimants-to-be-reduced/Personal Independence Payment rolled out to south east EnglandFrom this week, Personal Independence Payment will be extended to existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants turning 16 in most of South East of England, including some parts of London.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-rolled-out-to-south-east-england/Support our British 10k runners...or join them!This coming 12 July will see another British 10K London Run with over 27,000 runners taking part. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/support-our-british-10k-runnersor-join-them!/One week left to tell us how to campaign for better rights for carersWe're asking families to complete our Family Support Census, a survey about your experiences of changes to local services for disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/one-week-left-to-tell-us-how-to-campaign-for-better-rights-for-carers/Our recent and upcoming family eventsDid you know that Contact a Family has lots of activities across the UK for parents and carers to come together for friendship and mutual support? http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-recent-and-upcoming-family-events/New resources for parent carers improving short breaks servicesWe’ve launched a series of case studies and a bulletin for parent carers and parent carer forums who are working to improve short break services in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-resources-for-parent-carers-improving-short-breaks-services/Daredevils wanted! Join our skydiving team todayThis coming September will see another courageous group of Daredevils jumping from 10,000 feet to support families with disabled children and you can join them too!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/daredevils-wanted!-join-our-skydiving-team-today/Contact a Family is the Turn2us charity of the monthWe’re delighted that national financial support charity Turn2Us has chosen Contact a Family to be its charity of the month.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-is-the-turn2us-charity-of-the-month/Free anti-bullying workshops for parent carers of disabled childrenWe're working with the Anti-bullying Alliance to help nine areas in England become Anti-Bullying SEN and Disability Champions. As part of this programme, we are offering a free workshop for parents/carers of disabled children and those with special educational needs (SEN) who are concerned about bullying at school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-anti-bullying-workshops-for-parent-carers-of-disabled-children/Legal resource will prevent families missing out on early years educationToday we're launching a new guide to help families with disabled children who have been failed by the childcare system. The resource is part of our new campaign 'Levelling the Playing Field', calling for equal access to childcare for disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/legal-resource-will-prevent-families-missing-out-on-early-years-education/Incredible victory for Mathieson family in Supreme Court battleThe Mathieson family have made history by winning their landmark Supreme Court case against government rules that take away Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from disabled children if they spend long periods in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/victory-for-mathieson-family-in-supreme-court-battle-against-unfair-disability-benefit-rule/Contact a Family responds to the summer budgetIn yesterday's budget, the Chancellor announced an array of changes to the benefits and tax credits system, designed to cut spending on welfare by an additional £12 billion a year by 2020. Contact a Family is concerned that many families with disabled children are likely to be worse off after these cuts.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-the-summer-budget/Summer budget: what does it mean for families with disabled children?In yesterday’s budget, the Chancellor announced an array of changes to the benefits and tax credits system, designed to cut spending on welfare by an additional £12 billion a year by 2020. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/summer-budget-what-does-it-mean-for-families-with-disabled-children/Craig Mathieson's statement on the DLA Takeaway rulingOn Wednesday the Mathieson family made history as the Supreme Court upheld their challenge to the rules that stopped their son Cameron's benefit payments when he was in hospital for more than 84 days.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/craig-mathiesons-statement-on-the-dla-takeaway-ruling/Our runners raise £600 for families with disabled childrenWell done to Rebecca and Edward who’ve raised a brilliant £640 for Contact a Family by completing yesterday’s 10k London run.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-runners-raise-600-for-families-with-disabled-children/Families head to parliament to share their experiences of caring for a disabled childFamilies with disabled children from all over the UK and MPs will be celebrating family life with a disabled child at our Meet my Family event this evening, 14 July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/families-head-to-parliament-to-share-their-experiences-of-caring-for-a-disabled-child/£600k funding award will help families with special education systemWe're delighted to announce that we've been awarded £612,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to help more families with disabled children navigate the new system of support for children with special educational needs (SEN) in schools and colleges in England. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/600k-funding-award-will-help-families-with-special-education-system/Education, Health and Care plan transfer time extendedThe government has announced that it will extend from 16 to 20 weeks the maximum timescale for transferring a child’s statement of special educational needs onto an Education, Health and Care Plan. The new timescale will be introduced from 1 September 2015.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/education-health-and-care-plan-transfer-time-extended/A parent's thank you for our Disability Living Allowance campaignThis week we received a lovely letter from a parent who benefitted from our Love DLA (Disability Living Allowance) month in March.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-parents-thank-you-for-our-disability-living-allowance-campaign/Have your say on childcare for young children The government in England is asking for evidence on the cost of providing childcare for three and four year olds. This is because the government plans to increase the amount of free childcare for working parents of three- and four-year-olds to 30 hours per week. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/have-your-say-on-childcare-for-young-children/Are you watching Great Ormond Street? Tell us what you think!If you've been watching "Great Ormond Street", a BBC documentary about one of the world's most famous children's hospitals, we'd love you to get involved in our conversations about the programme.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-watching-great-ormond-street-tell-us-what-you-think!/Our campaign manager discusses welfare bill debateIn this article, our Campaigns Manager Una Sumemrson shares her thoughts on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill debate that took place in parliament yesterday.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-campaign-manager-discusses-welfare-bill-debate/Don't forget to renew your tax credits by 31 JulyThe deadline for renewing tax credit claims is fast approaching. Read this article to find out what you need to do to make sure you continue to receive the financial support you're entitled to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-forget-to-renew-your-tax-credits-by-31-july/Contact a Family staff member takes on unique fundraising challengeEd from Contact a Family's SENDirect team is taking on the Clothes Off My Back challenge, limiting her wardrobe to only 35 items. Find out more and how you can get involved.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-staff-member-takes-on-unique-fundraising-challenge/Personal Independence Payment rolled out to England and ScotlandFrom today, Personal Independence Payment will be extended to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants turning 16 in a final group of postcode areas in England and Scotland.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-rolled-out-to-england-and-scotland/Looking to meet other parent carers? Come to one of our eventsOne of the ways we support parent carers is by putting on events that bring people together to learn practical information about caring for their children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/looking-to-meet-other-parent-carers-come-to-one-of-our-events/Last night's Great Ormond Street - sharing medical informationDid you watch last night’s episode of Great Ormond Street, ‘Mend My Brain’? What did you think? In this article, our Rare Conditions Information Officer Lucy Pratt shares her thoughts on the importance of clear and thorough information for families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/last-nights-great-ormond-street-sharing-medical-information/Join other families and lobby your MPFamilies from all over the UK met MPs at a reception at Parliament earlier this month. Now you can get involved too, by writing to your local MP about what you want them to do for families like yours. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-other-families-and-lobby-your-mp/Contact a Family staff take on the Lurig Challenge RunNext Saturday 8 August, two intrepid Contact a Family members of staff will take on The Lurig Challenge Run which takes place in a village called Cushendall in Co. Antrium, Northern Ireland.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-staff-take-on-the-lurig-challenge-run/How we support parent support groups - download our Group Action PackParent support groups are a great way to meet other parents for practical and emotional support. If you're already in a support group, or thinking of setting up a local group or developing a rare condition charity, our Group Action Pack is for you. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-we-support-parent-support-groups-download-our-group-action-pack/Help getting your child's DLA payments reinstated in hospitalIn the recent Mathieson case, the Supreme Court found that rules suspending payment of DLA after 84 days in hospital breached the human rights of a severely disabled child. If you are affected by these rules you should contact the DLA Unit and ask them to review their decision to suspend your child’s payments.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-getting-your-childs-dla-payments-reinstated-in-hospital/Our education adviser shares tips for starting schoolOver the next few weeks, we'll be sharing a education-themed series of articles to help you and your child prepare for the new school year. In this article, our education adviser Jill Davies sharees her top tips for starting school - whether a new one or for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-education-adviser-shares-tips-for-starting-school/Maureen tells her MP about life with a disabled child - now tell yours!Husband and wife Ken and Maureen Morris from Washington, Tyne & Wear, met with their local MP Sharon Hodgerson at our Meet my Family reception - now's your chance to do the same.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/maureen-tells-her-mp-about-life-with-a-disabled-child-now-tell-yours!/Well done to our weekend fundraisers!Well done to our weekend fundraisers, who between them have raised an amazing £450 for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/well-done-to-our-weekend-fundraisers!/Education advice on support in the early yearsOver August we're sharing an education-themed series of articles to help you and your child prepare for the new school year. In this article, we explain what support is available for children with special educational needs (SEN) in early years settings.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/education-advice-on-support-in-the-early-years/Our Contact a Family Wacky RacersThis coming Sunday 23 of August, our team in the North West, Karen Robinson, Mark Reeder, Rebecca Robinson and Athena Labrinidis are raising money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-contact-a-family-wacky-racers/Our latest free guides for parentsDid you know that Contact a Family produces a range of resources full of free, useful information for parents to download or order in print?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-latest-free-guides-for-parents/Write to your MP about cuts to servicesContact a Family is calling on families across the UK to write to their local MP about what they want them to do for disabled children over the next five years in Parliament.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/write-to-your-mp-about-cuts-to-services/School attendance and medical needs Attendance at school has been a really hot topic in the newspapers over the last week or so and the special educational needs (SEN) experts on our helpline team often speak to parents about this subject. It can be a real concern for families who have children with disabilities or medical needs. Children may need to attend frequent medical appointments or may be unwell more often than their classmates. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/school-attendance-and-medical-needs/Congratulations to our Wacky RacersCongratulations to the Wacky Racers, our group of runners who completed Sunday's 5K Big Fun Run in Manchester and raised a brilliant £1,420 for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-wacky-racers/Is your 16-19 old staying in education? Don't miss out on Tax CreditsIf you have a 16-19 year old and they will continue in approved education or training after the summer holidays, remember to let the tax credits office know or you could lose out on tax credits payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-16-19-old-staying-in-education-dont-miss-out-on-tax-credits/All you need to know about the SEN reformsIn this article, we explain everything you need to know about the special educational needs (SEN) and the SEN reforms. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-sen-reforms/Our Meet my Family reception leads to unexpected resultIn July we organised the Meet my Family reception at Parliament. The aim of the event was to give families the chance to meet their local MP and talk about some of the issues that are most important to them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-meet-my-family-reception-leads-to-unexpected-result/A parent's story about volunteeringIn this story, parent Bev talks about her experience volunteering and how it let to her founding her own iApp.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-parents-volunteering-story-(1)/SEN reforms - one year onThis week marks the first anniversary of the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014: the law which introduced major changes to the way children and young people with SEN are supported in education in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sen-reforms-one-year-on/Contact a Family joins campaign on autism diagnosis timesWe’re supporting the National Autistic Society (NAS) in their campaign to improve autism waiting times.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-joins-campaign-on-autism-diagnosis-times/Extension to EHC plan transfer times starts this weekFrom this week the maximum timescale for transferring a child's statement of special educational needs onto an Education, Health and Care plan will extend from 16 to 20 weeks. This follows an announcement the government made in July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/extension-to-ehc-plan-transfer-times-starts-this-week/Resources to help you as the kids go back to schoolFor many of us the children will be back at school now. At this time of year when costs are high with new school uniforms, bags and stationery, check out our guide to Money Matters - England, Scotland and Wales) which details all the help you’re entitled to if your child’s at school. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/resources-to-help-you-as-the-kids-go-back-to-school/Swimming and running for families with disabled childrenThis week, we have some fantastic fundraisers taking part in two different events to help Contact a Family continue supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/swimming-and-running-for-families-with-disabled-children/Help inform government childcare policy We're asking for families to take part in focus groups to help shape the government's childcare policy. If you can't attend, you can take part in our early years survey.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-inform-government-childcare-policy/Discover our approach to supporting families in two new videosIn our new video, Contact a Family Chief Executive Amanda Batten explains the approach we take to our services. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/discover-our-approach-to-supporting-families-in-two-new-videos/Contact a Family urgently calls on MPs to vote against cuts to tax credits On Tuesday MPs will vote on new legislation introducing severe cuts in tax credits for working families. If these cuts are agreed, 3.2 million people are expected to be worse off by an average of £1,350. This will include many families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-urgently-calls-on-mps-to-vote-against-cuts-to-tax-credits/MPs approve cuts to tax creditsYesterday evening the House of Commons voted narrowly in favour of severe cuts to working tax credits. These changes will come into effect in April 2016 and are estimated to affect around 150,000 working families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mps-approve-cuts-to-tax-credits/Jumping from a plane for families with disabled childrenThis Saturday 19 September, six dare devils are taking to the skies of Kent and Cornwall to jump out of a plane and support thousands of families with disabled children. So far, they have raised over £1,900 and we couldn't be more humbled by all their hard work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/jumping-from-a-plane-for-families-with-disabled-children/"Knowledge is power...that's why I skydived for Contact a Family"Katie Barron is one of six courageous fundraisers who jumped out of a plane on Saturday to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/knowledge-is-powerthats-why-i-skydived-for-contact-a-family/Our research warns of funding crisis in vital short breaks servicesOur new research shows that more than half of local authorities have cut spending on short breaks (respite services) for families with disabled children since 2011/12.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-research-warns-of-funding-crisis-in-vital-short-breaks-services/SENDirect shortlisted for Innovative Online Service awardThe team behind our SENDirect website is proud to have been shortlisted as a finalist for a prestigious national award.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sendirect-shortlisted-for-innovative-online-service-award/Ed's unique fundraising challenge continuesA few months back, a member of our SENDirect team took on really original challenge called Clothes off my Back. With winter just around the corner, Ed Archer has some serious thinking to do.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/eds-unique-fundraising-challenge-continues/Families enjoy fun day in East of EnglandSaturday 5 September saw the launch of our East of England team's Local Family Support Hub, based in Suffolk, with a fun day organised by volunteer events co-ordinator Amanda Strowger.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/families-enjoy-fun-day-in-east-of-england/Our North East team takes on 'The meeting of the waters'From 1 October until 30 November, Jacqui and Sarah from Contact a Family North East will be taking on an exciting challenge to support our new hospitals and hospices project in the local area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-north-east-team-takes-on-the-meeting-of-the-waters/Meet our new senior management team We’re pleased to announce that we’ve completed our new senior management team with the appointment of two new directors.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/meet-our-new-senior-management-team/Benefits advice, behaviour tips or family fun days? Tell us what services you want Tell us what services you want to receive in the future by completing our online survey.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/benefits-advice-behaviour-tips-or-family-fun-days-tell-us-what-services-you-want/Government plans to tackle truancy fail to take into account children with medical needs The government recently announced plans to deduct money from the child benefit of parents who allow their child to be absent from school without permission (this is called unauthorised absence). Contact a Family is concerned that these plans fail to take into account the situation for children with special education needs (SEN) and medical needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-plans-to-tackle-truancy-fail-to-take-into-account-children-with-medical-needs/Is your child getting the playtime they need?If you live in England or Wales and have a child aged 0-5, we want to hear your experiences of play and leisure for a public inquiry we’re taking part in.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-getting-the-playtime-they-need/Fathers, grandparents and siblings - our new guides are for youFamilies come in all shapes and sizes, and having a disabled child affects all members of the family. Our guides will help all members of the family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/fathers-grandparents-and-siblings-our-new-guides-are-for-you/Our tax credits campaign - sign our petition to oppose cutsContact a Family is leading calls to the government to consider the impact cuts to tax credits will have on families with disabled children and think again about making the cuts. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-tax-credits-campaign-sign-our-petition-to-oppose-cuts/Our SENDirect service wins top industry awardOur SENDirect service, which brings together specialist activities, support and services for families with children with additional needs, has won a second digital award in three months.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-sendirect-service-wins-top-industry-award/We celebrate inspirational dadsIn this Autumn edition of Connected magazine [PDF], seven dads share their perspectives on being the father of a disabled child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-celebrate-inspirational-dads/Contact a Family speaks out for families with disabled children before tax credits opposition debateThis afternoon in parliament there will be an Opposition Day Debate on the Chancellor’s planned cuts to tax credits. This will be a chance for opposition parties to scrutinise the detail and distributional effects of the reform. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-speaks-out-for-families-with-disabled-children-before-tax-credits-opposition-debate/Professionals – access family research and national events through our SENDirect mailing listWe’re launching a new mailing list for professionals who want to access research and latest findings on issues facing families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/professionals-–-access-family-research-and-national-events-through-our-sendirect-mailing-list/Levelling the playing field: calling for a SEND-friendly Childcare BillTo coincide with the second reading of the Childcare Bill in the House of Commons next month, we'll be releasing a report detailing the challenges faced by families with disabled children in their efforts to access the current free childcare offer. We'll also be giving you the chance to contact your MP, asking them to speak out in the debate for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/levelling-the-playing-field-calling-for-a-send-friendly-childcare-bill/House of Lords to debate tax credit cuts today – sign our petitionThis afternoon the House of Lords will vote on the government’s plans to cut tax credits. We’re leading calls to consider the impact cuts to tax credits will have on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/house-of-lords-to-debate-tax-credit-cuts-today-–-sign-our-petition/Tax credits next steps must consider families with disabled childrenYesterday peers in the House of Lords voted to postpone the government’s plans to cut tax credits. We’re asking people to sign our petition to make sure families with disabled children are properly considered in the next steps of the debate.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tax-credits-next-steps-must-consider-families-with-disabled-children/A story for Father's Day: "William is just like everybody else"To celebrate Father's Day, we're sharing a story from our last issue of Connected magazine from dad Colin. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-story-for-fathers-day-william-is-just-like-everybody-else/Please take a few minutes to tell us what you think about our servicesIf you find our website useful, please take a few minutes to help us improve the service so it continues to meet your needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/please-take-a-few-minutes-to-tell-us-what-you-think-about-our-services/Download our money guides to get what you're entitled toOver the last month we've been leading calls to the Chancellor to properly consider the impact of tax credits cuts on families with disabled children. We're asking people to sign our petition to help keep the pressure on. In the meantime if you're worried about money issues then you'll find our free parent guides useful. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/download-our-money-guides-to-get-what-youre-entitled-to/A dad's story from Connected: "Don't be frightened to talk" Our Connected Autumn 2015 magazine [PDF] is now available to download or order, and to give you sneak peek we're sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-dads-story-from-connected-dont-be-frightened-to-talk/The Warm Home Discount Scheme might get you £140 off your billsYou might be eligible for up to £140 off your bills this winter through the government and energy suppliers' Warm Home Discount Scheme. Make sure you hurry because the scheme is offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. The scheme applies in England, Scotland and Wales only. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-warm-home-discount-scheme-might-get-you-140-off-your-bills/Case studies and bulletins for improving short breaks servicesOur parent carer participation team has published a series of case studies and a bulletin for parent carers and parent carer forums working to improve short break services in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/case-studies-and-bulletins-for-improving-short-breaks-services/Scotland families - take part in our photography exhibitionWe're organising a photo exhibition called 'My Family' to take place in Edinburgh in spring 2016, and we're looking to exhibit the word of families in Scotland.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/scotland-families-take-part-in-our-photography-exhibition/Today we launch our Christmas fundraising appealToday we’re launching our Christmas fundraising appeal to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/today-we-launch-our-christmas-fundraising-appeal/Ofsted and the CQC seeking parent and young people’s views on SEND inspectionsAre you a parent of a disabled child or are you a young person with additional needs? You can share your views in a consultation on the best way to inspect how local areas are fulfilling their duty to disabled children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/ofsted-and-the-cqc-seeking-parent-and-young-peoples-views-on-send-inspections/Make a noise about bullying - it's anti-bullying weekThis week is Anti-Bullying Week 2015, and as part of the Anti-Bullying Alliance we're asking children and young people to "make a noise about bullying."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/make-a-noise-about-bullying-its-anti-bullying-week/Lords discuss Welfare Reform and Work Bill todayToday the House of Lords will discuss the Welfare Reform and Work Bill - the draft law that introduces a wide range of reforms including cuts to tax credits. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/lords-discuss-welfare-reform-and-work-bill-today/Find out how we’re bringing families together this Christmas We’re letting families know how they can reach our vital services this Christmas and letting supporters know how they can help us through our Christmas appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-out-how-were-bringing-families-together-this-christmas/Free anti-bullying workshops for parents of disabled childrenThis week is Anti-Bullying Week 2015, and as part of the Anti-Bullying Alliance we're asking children and young people to "make a noise about bullying." One way we're helping parents deal with bullying is through our workshops across England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/free-anti-bullying-workshops-for-parents-of-disabled-children/Government plans to double free childcare must account for disabled childrenOur new research published today shows that the government's plan to double free childcare in England will not benefit disabled children unless long-standing systemic problems are tackled.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-plans-to-double-free-childcare-must-account-for-disabled-children/Find out how we’re helping families with finances this winterWe're letting families know how they can reach our vital services over the seasonal period and letting supporters know how they can help us through our Christmas appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-out-how-were-helping-families-with-finances-this-winter/150 parents celebrate Contact a Family South West's anniversaryOn Saturday 14 November, 150 parents were at the Eden project to recognise the amazing work done by parent carers and to celebrate 15 years of Contact a Family in the south west.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/150-parents-celebrate-contact-a-family-south-wests-anniversary/Double your donation to Contact a Family this weekWe’re running a Christmas fundraising appeal to raise money for families with disabled children. This Friday and Saturday, you have the chance to double your donation to Contact a Family through the Big Give.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/double-your-donation-to-contact-a-family-this-week/Chancellor scraps tax credits cutsToday in his Spending Review the Chancellor George Osborne announced that the government’s planned cuts to tax credits will not go ahead.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/chancellor-scraps-tax-credits-cuts/Spending Review - What it means for families with disabled childrenIn yesterday’s spending review the Chancellor scrapped the two biggest cuts to tax credits planned for April 2016. This will be very welcome news for the thousands of working families who had been facing large reductions in their tax credit payments next year. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/spending-review-what-it-means-for-families-with-disabled-children/High Court rules that the household benefit cap discriminates against disabled peopleYesterday the High Court ruled that the household benefit cap discriminates against disabled people by failing to exempt their full time carers from the cap. The Court found that the failure to exempt those on carer’s allowance looking after a disabled adult amounted to unlawful discrimination.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/high-court-rules-that-the-household-benefit-cap-discriminates-against-disabled-people/Disabled children in the spotlight at Childcare Bill 2nd readingThanks to your help disabled children’s access to the free childcare offer was one of the central topics of the second reading of the Childcare Bill, which took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday 25 November. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-in-the-spotlight-at-childcare-bill-2nd-reading/Our North East team raises £1,184 in swimming challengeOn 1 of October, Sarah and Jacqui from our North East office embarked on a new and exciting challenge -to swim in a pool the equivalent of the 31 miles (15.5 miles each) from 'the meeting of the waters' near Hexham, where the two rivers meet to make up the river Tyne, to its mouth.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-north-east-team-raises-1184-in-swimming-challenge/Thank you for donating £5,000 in the Big GiveThank you to everyone who donated to us over the weekend in the Big Give - you've helped us raise an amazing £5,000 for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thank-you-for-donating-5000-in-the-big-give/This winter we launch #SENDreams2016This December and January we’re asking families to make a noise on social media about the services, support and products that would make next year better for them.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/this-winter-we-launch-sendreams2016/Find out how we're helping families facing illegal exclusionsWe're letting families know how they can reach our vital services over the seasonal period and letting supporters know how they can help us through our Christmas appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/find-out-how-were-helpling-families-facing-illegal-exclusions/Our helpline Christmas opening hoursOur helpline will be closed from midday on Thursday 24 December and will re-open on 4 January at the usual time of 9:30am. If you need to speak to someone when the helpline is closed over Christmas, these contacts may be helpful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-helpline-christmas-opening-hours/Happy Christmas from everyone at Contact a FamilyWe want to say a big thank you and happy Christmas to all families who've supported us over the last year. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/happy-christmas-from-everyone-at-contact-a-family/Can you rock a capsule wardrobe this February? Take part in 15 for February!Today we're launching 15forFeb, an innovative fundraising campaign that challenges you to shrink your wardrobe for a month to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/can-you-rock-a-capsule-wardrobe-this-february-take-part-in-15-for-february!/Download our latest parent guidesWhatever you’re doing over the holiday season, this time of year can be expensive. Download our latest parent guides to help your family finances.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/download-our-latest-parent-guides/Universal Credit extended to families with disabled children in five new areas from early 2016Last week the Work and Pensions Minister Ian Duncan Smith announced that, from early 2016, five new areas will trial a Universal Credit digital service that requires families with disabled children making new means-tested benefits claims to instead claim Universal Credit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-extended-to-more-families-with-disabled-children/Thanks for taking part in our Christmas giving campaignA big thank you to everyone who took part in our Christmas giving campaign – thanks to you, we raised £5,117 for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thanks-for-taking-part-in-our-christmas-giving-campaign/New government consultation on Personal Independence Payment rulesThe government has launched a consultation on how the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) takes into account aids and appliances. It looks at various options for reducing the number of adults who get PIP solely because they need to use aids and appliances. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-government-consultation-on-personal-independence-payment-rules/A big thanks to all who supported our campaigns in 2015As 2016 begins, we take a moment to reflect on 2015 and how with your help, we managed to achieve an impressive campaigning record, with over 13,000 of you getting involved with our e-campaigns by signing a petition or writing to your local MP. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-big-thanks-to-all-who-supported-our-campaigns-in-2015/New Year's Honour for parent carer forum memberIn recognition of her outstanding and dedicated work over the last seven years with Warrington Parents and Carers, Gail Hall has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours list. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-years-honour-for-parent-carer-forum-chair/A look back at the year with Contact a FamilyWe’ve recently published our Annual Review 2014/15, which looks in depth at some of our achievements over the last financial year. You can download a copy of the review to find out more about the vital work we do.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-look-back-at-the-year-with-contact-a-family/Got a teenager? Our new guide is for you.We all remember the turmoil of teenage years, and being the parent of a disabled young person can bring particular challenges. Not least the thorny subject of sex and relationships. We have two new guides to help parents and young disabled people navigate issues around growing up and relationships.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/got-a-teenager-our-new-guide-is-for-you/Access our research on the provision of children's servicesOur SENDirect team has been carrying out research that aims to find out more about the provision of services and products for children and young people with additional needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/access-our-research-on-the-provision-of-childrens-services/Government intends to exempt Carer's Allowance claimants from benefit capIn a debate in the House of Lords on Monday night, the government announced that it intends to exempt everyone who gets carer’s allowance from the benefit cap that applies to out-of-work households.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-intends-to-exempt-carers-allowance-claimants-from-benefit-cap/Court of Appeal rules that bedroom tax discriminates against disabled childrenContact a Family welcomes today’s decision by the Court of Appeal that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children who need overnight care. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/court-of-appeal-rules-that-bedroom-tax-discriminates-against-disabled-children/We’re supporting Young Carers Awareness dayDo your children help look after their disabled sibling? There are 700,000 young carers in the UK, many of them supporting a disabled brother or sister. Young Carers Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of all the young people who do so much to help their family, and help them get the right support. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-supporting-young-carers-awareness-day/Government announces £80million to support SEN reformsThe government has announced today an £80 million package to help support the Special Educational Needs reforms.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-announces-80million-to-support-sen-reforms/Do you know about discretionary housing payments (DHPs)?Last week the Rutherford family won their Court of Appeal bedroom tax challenge. The court agreed that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children who need overnight care.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/do-you-know-about-discretionary-housing-payments-(dhps)/Your help achieves campaigning success on childcare Yesterday, as the Childcare Bill returned to the House of Lords for the final time, the government announced funding to support local authorities to test out how the new 30 hours of free childcare for working parents of three and four year-olds will be delivered when it is introduced in 2017. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-help-achieves-campaigning-success-on-childcare/Families needed to help challenge bedroom tax rulesLast week the Rutherford family won their Court of Appeal bedroom tax challenge. The court agreed that the bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children who need overnight care. Unfortunately the government has decided to try and overturn this decision at the Supreme Court. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/families-needed-to-help-challenge-bedroom-tax-rules/Sleep – it’s a serious issueA child that doesn’t sleep well affects the whole family. Exhaustion kicks in, you can’t think clearly and brothers and sisters are also affected. Many parents say they feel caught in a vicious cycle struggling to cope, and it’s no surprise when you look at the research - 86 per cent of children with additional needs have issues with sleep.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sleep-–-its-a-serious-issue/Universal Credit to be extended to families with disabled children in a further 38 new areas by the end of 2016Currently families with a child on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are exempt from Universal Credit in most parts of the UK. The only exceptions to this are a small number of areas where a Universal Credit 'digital service' applies. The government has this week confirmed a timetable for the roll out of the Universal Credit digital service to a further 38 job centres.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-to-be-extended-to-families-with-disabled-children-in-a-further-38-new-areas-by-the-end-of-2016/Subscribe to a Contact a Family newsletterDid you know that you can keep up-to-date with all our latest news by subscribing to one of our newsletters?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/subscribe-to-a-contact-a-family-newsletter/Launching Short Breaks MatterToday we’re launching a month of features and conversations about short breaks services. This week we focus on helping families who might be missing out on this vital support service.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-launch/Universal Credit extended to families in Croydon, Sutton and surrounding areasToday sees the further roll out of the full Universal Credit digital service to another seven areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-extended-to-families-in-croydon-sutton-and-surrounding-areas/Report finds disabled children missing out on play opportunitiesThe national deafblind charity SENSE has published a report that reveals severe restrictions facing disabled children in accessing play.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/report-finds-disabled-children-missing-out-on-play-opportunities/We’re celebrating Rare Disease Day 2016 todayToday is Rare Disease Day 2016, the ninth edition of the international event held each year on the last day of February. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-celebrating-rare-disease-day-2016-today/Short Breaks Matter: challenging cuts to short breaks servicesThis month we’re letting families know about their rights to short breaks services. In this article we explain your options if you are refused a short break or if your local area is facing cuts to short breaks services.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-challenging-cuts-to-short-breaks-services/Tell us what you think about our servicesIf you've used any of our services recently, we'd really like to hear from you. We're running a survey so you can tell us what you thought and how you think we can improve the support we can give you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-us-what-you-think-about-our-services/Government wants to hear your views on peer supportThe government wants to hear from you and your children to find out about your experiences of mentoring and peer support for young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-wants-to-hear-your-views-on-peer-support/Will your child need support to move into adult services? Information about changes in EnglandOver the last two years the way families with disabled children are supported has changed. The Care Act 2014 includes new rights for families with a child who may need support to prepare for the transition to adult services (usually at age 18). It also provides rights for young carers who are approaching adulthood.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/will-your-child-need-support-to-move-into-adult-services-information-about-changes-in-england/Short Breaks Matter: how parent carer forums are improving short breaksThis month we’re letting families know about their rights to short breaks services. In this article we explain how parents are improving short breaks by getting involved in their local parent carer forum.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-how-parent-carer-forums-are-improving-short-breaks/Congratulations to our 15 for February challengers!A huge thank you and congratulations to all our amazing supporters who took part on our 15 for February challenge.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-15-for-february-challengers/Short breaks matter: New resources for parent carers and providersThis month we're letting families know about their rights to short breaks services. In this article we launch new resources for parent carers, local authorities and service providers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-new-resources-for-parent-carers-and-providers/Government to change Personal Independence Payment ‘aids and appliances’ rules in 2017The government has announced that it intends to change the way aids and appliances are taken into account in assessing entitlement to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). These changes follow a consultation carried out late last year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-to-change-personal-independence-payment-aids-and-appliances-rules-in-2017/Confused about the move from a statement to an EHC Plan? Our SEN experts can helpOur special educational needs (SEN) helpline experts have seen an increase in calls from parents asking about and the move from a statement of special educational needs to the newer Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/confused-about-the-move-from-a-statement-to-an-ehc-plan-our-sen-experts-can-help/Contact a Family comments on the budget"There is little in today's budget that will ease the financial pressures on low income families with a disabled child - many of whom will face significant cuts in income as Universal Credit is rolled out nationally."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-comments-on-the-budget/What does yesterday’s budget mean for families on benefits? In yesterday’s budget the Chancellor confirmed cuts to Personal Independence Payment already notified earlier this month, but no other new cuts to disability benefits were announced. However, the budget does include a number of smaller changes to benefits rules that will affect specific groups. In this article, our benefits specialists explain what these changes will mean.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/what-does-yesterdays-budget-mean-for-families-on-benefits/Short Breaks Matter: our SENDirect team publishes short breaks researchThis month we're running a series of articles and features to raise awareness about short breaks services. To coincide with this, our SENDirect team has published research on short breaks and worked with parents, providers and local authorities to improve short breaks provision.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-our-sendirect-team-publishes-short-breaks-research/More academies – what does this mean?Last week in the budget, we heard about government plans to convert all schools into academies. The government also published a white paper called Educational Excellence Everywhere. Here, our Education Specialist Jill Davies explains some of our concerns about academies.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-academies-–-what-does-this-mean/Government confirms it is abandoning cuts to Personal Independence PaymentYesterday the new Minister for Works and Pensions Stephen Crabb, confirmed that the government no longer plans to go ahead with changes to the Personal Independence Payment aids and appliances rules announced in the run-up to last week’s budget.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-confirms-it-is-abandoning-cuts-to-personal-independence-payment/Short Breaks Matter: a roundup of our awareness-raising monthOver the last month we’ve been raising awareness about short breaks services. We hope you’ve found our articles and features useful – and if you missed anything, here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-matter-a-roundup-of-our-awareness-raising-month/Easter helpline opening hoursOur helpline will be closed on Friday 25 March and Monday 28 March and will re-open on Tuesday 29 March at the usual time of 9:30am.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/easter-helpline-opening-hours/Introduction of National Living Wage may be bad news for some carersToday sees the introduction of a new National Living Wage for the over 25s of £7.20 per hour. While this is good news for most low paid workers it may cause problems for some parents on carer’s allowance.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/introduction-of-national-living-wage-may-be-bad-news-for-some-carers/Carers - tell the government how it can support youThe government is calling for evidence to find out how they can improve support for informal carers. They are welcoming evidence from carers, those who have someone care for them, social workers and other professionals that support carers.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/carers-tell-the-government-how-it-can-support-you/New Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act comes into lawOn 6 April 2016, the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force. It means that for the first time, there is separate social care legislation for Wales. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-social-services-and-well-being-(wales)-act-comes-into-law/Tell the government how childcare can work for you (England)The Childcare Bill has now received Royal Assent, becoming the Childcare Act 2016 (England only). The Department for Education has launched a consultation on proposals for how the new free childcare offer will be delivered. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-the-government-how-childcare-can-work-for-you/Good luck to our fantastic marathon runnersSunday 24 April will see another Virgin London Marathon taking place in the streets of London. We have five incredible runners taking part this year who have been training and fundraising with all their might and have already raised over £4,500 collectively.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/good-luck-to-our-fantastic-marathon-runners/Contact a Family awarded Department for Education contract extensionWe're pleased to announce that the Department for Education (DfE) has extended the contract that funds our work supporting families with disabled children going through reforms to education in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-awarded-department-for-education-contract-extension/Better for the break - new resources for families in EnglandOur new factsheet for parents of disabled children explains your rights to getting a short break from your local authority.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/better-for-the-break-new-resources-for-families-in-england/Tell your local council to stop short breaks cutsWe’ve found worrying evidence of cuts to crucial short breaks (respite) services in many local areas. We are calling on our supporters to send our template email to your local council to help protect the future of short breaks for familieshttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-your-local-council-to-stop-short-breaks-cuts/Thanks for helping us improve our service for familiesWe want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our helpline and online services survey. Your responses will help us make sure we’re meeting the needs of the thousands of families with disabled children we’re in touch with.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thanks-for-helping-us-improve-our-service-for-families/Short breaks for children with complex needs: new resources for forumsThe Short Breaks Partnership has this month published new resources for parent carer forums working to improve short breaks in their local area. The new resources are all based around the theme 'short breaks and children with complex needs.'http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/short-breaks-for-children-with-complex-needs-new-resources-for-forums/Congratulations to our brilliant marathon runnersLast Sunday 24 April saw another four incredible runners giving it all they had at the Virgin London Marathon 2016.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-brilliant-marathon-runners/Contact a Family is celebrating Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2016Today, Friday 29 April 2016, is Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2016, organised by the charity SWAN to raise awareness of children living without a diagnosis.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-is-celebrating-undiagnosed-childrens-day-2016/Our advice on making your voice heard in this week's electionsThere are millions of disabled people and their carers in the UK. If they all voted in the elections this week, it could decide the outcome.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-advice-on-making-your-voice-heard-in-this-weeks-elections/Universal Credit rollout in Croydon, Sutton, Thornton Heath, Great YarmouthLast week saw a further roll out of the full Universal Credit ‘digital service’ to new areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-rollout-in-croydon-sutton-thornton-heath-great-yarmouth/New e-learning tool for families of disabled childrenA partnership project between professionals and parents has resulted in a new e-learning tool for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-e-learning-tool-for-families-of-disabled-children/Big Lottery Fund boost for our work in the North WestWe are delighted to announce that we have been awarded more than £400,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to help us reach communities in the North West.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-lottery-fund-boost-for-contact-a-familys-work-in-the-north-west/Contact a Family South West supporting families in the Somali communityOur team in the South West is proud to be working with Autism Independence, a Bristol-based Somali organisation working to raise awareness and support families in their Bristol Community. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-south-west-supporting-families-in-the-somali-community/Queen's speech: Bill to ensure educational excellence in all schoolsEach year the Queen opens a new session of parliament with a speech setting out the government's legislative plans for the forthcoming session. Included in the Queen's speech today was a new bill to lay foundations for educational excellence in all schools, giving every child the best start in life.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/queens-speech-bill-to-ensure-educational-excellence-in-all-schools/Our advice helpline is awarded nationally recognised quality standard We are delighted announce that our freephone advice and support helpine has been awarded the Helplines Standard, a nationally recognised quality accreditation.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-advice-helpline-is-awarded-nationally-recognised-quality-standard/Government to contact people affected by changes to benefit capOver the next three weeks the Department for Work and Pensions will send a written notification to all those families who are likely to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap planned for this autumn. These notification letters will be sent out between 24 May and 10 June 2016http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-to-contact-people-affected-by-changes-to-benefit-cap/"We pull everything together for families" - our vital work in hospitals and hospicesLast Wednesday we announced that the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-pull-everything-together-for-families-our-vital-work-in-hospitals-and-hospices/Full Universal Credit service rolled out to families in new areas todayFull Universal Credit service rolled out to families with disabled children in Bath, Rugby, Bridgwater, Lowestoft and parts of Newcastle. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/full-universal-credit-service-rolled-out-to-families-in-new-areas-today/Enjoy a beautiful Thames walk and raise vital funds for families of disabled childrenIf you enjoy challenging walks surrounded by beautiful scenery, we've got the perfect event for you this autumn.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/enjoy-a-beautiful-thames-walk-and-raise-vital-funds-for-families-of-disabled-children/Department for Education reports on progress of education reformsToday the Department for Education (DfE) has published an analysis of data about special educational needs (SEN) and the progress of reforms to the SEN education system that began in September 2014. The DfE's data shows that in 2015 only 59% of the new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans were issued within the 20 week time limit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/department-for-education-reports-on-progress-of-education-reforms/Our unique education advice service gets funding boost from Masonic Charitable FoundationOur special educational needs (SEN) helpline team, who offer advice, support and information to parents worried about their disabled child's education, has received a second year of funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to continue their vital work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-unique-education-advice-service-gets-funding-boost-from-masonic-charitable-foundation/More focus needed on children with SEN in EnglandMore focus on children with special educational needs (SEN) is needed in mainstream education policy making according to new findings released today by The Key for School Leaders, an information service providing leadership and management support to nearly half of schools in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-focus-needed-on-children-with-sen-in-england/Run, walk or bungee jump for families of disabled childrenAs summer begins, we are gearing up for a few really exciting events during the months of June and July. Whether it's running, bungee jumping, or walking - there are many ways to help us continue supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/run-walk-or-bungee-jump-for-families-of-disabled-children/A huge congratulations to our fundraising star EdA huge congratulations to our amazing and original fundraiser, Ed, who after wearing only 35 items for one whole year has finally finished it, raising over £5,000 to support Contact a Family and families with disabled children!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-huge-congratulations-to-our-fundraising-star-ed/Sign our letter to improve Carer’s AllowanceThis week is Carers Week so we're asking you to sign our open letter calling on the government to increase the Carer's Allowance earnings threshold to stop parent carers losing out on support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sign-our-letter-to-improve-carers-allowance/Sussex police misconduct in restraint of disabled childToday police watch dog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), found Sussex Police had a case to answer for misconduct, following the arrest and restraint of an 11 year old child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/sussex-police-misconduct-in-restraint-of-disabled-child/Scottish families celebrate love, life and laughter in My Family photography exhibitionA huge thank you from Contact a Family Scotland to all the families who took part in our photo exhibition, My Family: love, life, laughter, and to the donors, funders, families and other guests who made a very special evening of 25 May in Edinburgh.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/scottish-families-celebrate-love-life-and-laughter-in-my-family-photography-exhibition/Our position on the Baker Small tweets over the weekendA number of tweets posted by legal firm Baker Small over the weekend appeared to ridicule parents fighting for their disabled child's SEND provision through the courts. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-position-on-the-baker-small-tweets-over-the-weekend/Queen's birthday MBE for parent carer participation leadMany congratulations to Sue North MBE, formerly of Contact a Family, who was awarded in the Queen's birthday honours.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/queens-birthday-mbe-for-parent-carer-participation-lead/Parents, get your free copy of Connected Spring/Summer 2016To give you a sneak peek we're sharing Marie’s story, about her local support group from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parents-get-your-free-copy-of-connected-springsummer-2016/Councils terminate contracts with law firm Baker Small Earlier this week we reported on a series of tweets made by the law firm Baker Small that appeared to ridiculue parents following two tribunal judgments. Some councils have since terminated contracts with law firm Baker Small following complaints by parents of disabled children about the tweets.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/councils-terminate-contracts-with-law-firm-baker-small/Personal Independence Payment introduced in Northern Ireland from todayPersonal Independence Payment (PIP) starts to be introduced in Northern Ireland from the 20 June. This new benefit is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64. DLA will continue as a separate benefit for children aged under 16.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-introduced-in-northern-ireland-from-today/We need you! A small amount of time can make a big difference!Are you a parent of a disabled child? Would you like to use your experience to help us reach more families with disabled children? We’re looking for your advice on the best way to ask parents and supporters to donate to Contact a Family or to fundraise for us.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-need-you!-a-small-amount-of-time-can-make-a-big-difference!/Victory for our Stop the DLA Takeaway Campaign Today the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/victory-for-our-stop-the-dla-takeaway-campaign/Join our intrepid Thames Path Challengers!This September, a group of Contact a Family staff and friends will be taking part in the Thames Path Challenge. Our chief executive and our chairman will be leading the team in this fun and challenging walk along the river Thames.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-intrepid-thames-path-challengers!/How will the new DLA hospital rules affect families?Yesterday we announced that the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital. In this article we look at how the new rules might affect parents in varying circumstances.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-will-the-new-dla-hospital-rules-affect-families/DLA hospital rules change in Northern IrelandLast week we reported that the government has scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital. While this became law in England, Scotland and Wales last week, the new rules become law in Northern Ireland today, Wednesday 6 July. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dla-hospital-rules-change-in-northern-ireland/The Brexit vote and families with disabled childrenWhat does the vote to leave the EU mean for families with disabled children? Contact a Family CEO Amanda Batten writes.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-brexit-vote-and-families-with-disabled-children/Thames path walker Shirley's top training tipsThis September, a group of Contact a Family staff and friends will be taking part in the Thames Path Challenge fundraising event. Shirley's taking on the full 100km challenge, and in her latest video blog she gives her top tips for fitting her training regime around working full time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thames-path-walker-shirleys-top-training-tips/A good network helps everyone feel less isolated In our latest edition of Connected magazine [PDF], Gloucester mum Leonie explains how joining her local parent carer forum helped her feel less isolated and gave her the opportunity to help other families with disabled children in her community. To give you a sneak peek, we share Leonie's story here.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-good-network-helps-everyone-feel-less-isolated/The Changing Places campaign turns 10Today, Tuesday 19 July, the Changing Places campaign is 10 years old. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the campaign, we're sharing parent Laura's blog about the importance of disabled people having public facilities that fully meet their needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-changing-places-campaign-turns-10/Our welfare rights service awarded Big Lottery Funding We are delighted to announce that it has been awarded over £400k from the Big Lottery Fund to help continue the vital work of its Welfare Rights Helpline.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-welfare-rights-service-awarded-big-lottery-funding/Join one of our exciting fundraising events in AugustNext month, we have a range of events taking place and we would love to have you on board our team!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-one-of-our-exciting-fundraising-events-in-august/Searching for school holiday activities?With the summer holidays fast approaching, you might be starting to plan things to do with the kids during the break. You're not the only one. And with a report just out by the Family and Childcare Trust showing it is increasingly harder for families to find affordable and appropriate childcare for their children, families need more support than ever to find activities over the summer period. The report shows the task of finding appropriate childcare is even harder if your child has additional needs. So we thought we'd try and give a helping hand to in finding the right activities and childcare for your family this summer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/searching-for-school-holiday-activities/New factsheet - Disability Living Allowance when your child is in hospitalAt the end of June we announced that the government had scrapped the rules that previously stopped payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when a child under 18 is in hospital.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-factsheet-dla-in-hospital/Follow our adventurous cyclists’ journey across the UK This August, our supporters Chris and Pete Hutchinson will be setting out on the journey of a lifetime. Our father and son team have already run the London Marathon for us and now they have set their eyes on a new challenge – cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just two weeks.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/chris-and-pete-hutchinsons-uk-wide-cycling-challenge/Received an EHC plan for your child in 2015?From today, 25 July 2016, families in England who started an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan in 2015 will be invited by the Department of Education to complete an anonymous survey. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dfe-ehc-plan-family-survey/Mathieson DLA victory already helping children in hospitalToday, Friday 22 July, the Daily Mirror reported how the Mathieson family's successful campaign to change the DLA rules for children in hospital is already helping others.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mathieson-dla-victory-already-helping-children-in-hospital/High Court ruling: West Berkshire short breaks cuts unlawfulToday, 22 July 2016, the High Court ruled that West Berkshire Local Authority’s cuts to short breaks services funding is unlawful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/high-court-ruling-west-berkshire-short-break-cuts-unlawful/Don’t forget to renew your tax credits by Sunday 31 July The deadline for renewing tax credit claims is fast approaching. Read this article to find out what you need to do to make sure you continue to receive the financial support you're entitled to.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-forget-to-renew-your-tax-credits-by-sunday-31-july/Our Thames Path Challenge journey continues…With slightly over six weeks to go, our Contact a Family team is getting ready to embark on the walk of a life-time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-thames-path-challenge-journey-continues…/Full Universal Credit service rolled out to families in new areas todayFrom today, Wednesday 27 July the full Universal Credit 'digital service' is being extended to those areas covered by the Runcorn, Widnes, Lancaster, Morecombe, Frome and Wells Jobcentres.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/full-universal-credit-service-rolled-out-to-families-in-new-areas-today-(1)/I CAN Speech and Language Review announced The charity I CAN, in partnership with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, have today announced they will undertake an independent review of the state of provision for children’s speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) in England, entitled Bercow – Ten Years On.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/i-can-speech-and-language-review-announced/The end of Learning Difficulty Assessments for young people in EnglandUntil September 2014 when the Children and Families Act came into force, young people who needed significant additional support in further education college had a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) in their last year of school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-end-of-learning-difficulty-assessments-for-young-people-in-england/Disabled boy is refused school transport - our adviceAn 11-year old boy with a rare form of dwarfism has been denied transport to school by his local council.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-boy-is-refused-school-transport-our-advice/Petition launched after disabled 11-year-old girl placed in spit hood The mother of a girl with learning difficulties who was placed in a spit hood by Sussex Police at the age of just 11 has launched an online petition in a bid to get the force to stop using the device on children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/petition-launched-after-disabled-11-year-old-girl-placed-in-spit-hood/Last chance to join our Thames Path Challenge - and other eventsNext month, we have a really exciting range of events taking place and we would love to have you on board our team!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/last-chance-to-join-our-thames-path-challenge-and-other-events/New online tool clarifies Universal Credit eligibilityUniversal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age. It is gradually replacing new claims for income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-online-tool-clarifies-universal-credit-eligibility/New Carer’s Allowance digital service launched in Northern IrelandThe Northern Ireland government has launched a digital service allowing carers across Northern Ireland to claim Carer's Allowance, or report a change in their circumstances, using an online service.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-carers-allowance-digital-service-launched-in-northern-ireland/Contact a Family chairing disability and children charity partnershipThe Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) is an exciting new collaboration between 25 disability and children’s charities (listed below).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-chairing-disability-and-children-charity-partnership/Campaign win on early years funding in England The Department for Education (DfE) is seeking views on changes to how the government funds free childcare and early education for three and four year olds in England. The proposals include extra funding for some disabled children. This is something that Contact a Family and thousands of parent carers have long been campaigning for.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/campaign-win-on-early-years-funding-in-england/Good luck to our amazing father and son cyclist duoThis weekend, two brave Contact a Family supporters set off on a cycling expedition from Land's End to John O'Groates to raise money to support our vital work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/good-luck-to-our-amazing-father-and-son-cyclist-duo/Share your views on the Personal Independence Payment processThe government has agreed to an independent review looking into the disability payment called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). They want to hear from you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/share-your-views-on-the-personal-independence-payment-process/Resources to help you as the kids prepare to go back to schoolFor many of us the children will be either back at school, or we will be planning for the new term. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/resources-to-help-you-as-the-kids-prepare-to-go-back-to-school/Learning disability campaigner Lord Rix dies aged 92This weekend the leading campaigner for people with learning disabilities Brian Rix died aged 92.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/learning-disability-campaigner-lord-rix-dies-aged-92/Contact a Family chief executive up for leading sector awardWe’re delighted to announce that our chief executive Amanda Batten has been nominated for a prestigious sector award. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-chief-executive-up-for-leading-sector-award/Is your 16-19 old staying in education? Don't miss out on tax creditsIf you have a 16-19 who’ll be staying in non-advanced education after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know or you could lose out on tax credit payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-16-19-old-staying-in-education-dont-miss-out-on-tax-credits-(1)/Award given to Contact a Family’s Ealing office for longstanding and dedicated service Congratulations to our Ealing office who recently received an award recognising the team's hard work and dedication to helping families with disabled children in their area.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/award-given-to-contact-a-familys-ealing-office-for-longstanding-and-dedicated-service/Congratulations to our superstar cyclists Chris and Pete HutchinsonA huge congratulations to our two amazing supporters Chris and Pete Hutchinson who completed their journey from Land's End to John O'Groats this weekend.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-superstar-cyclists-chris-and-pete-hutchinson/Contact a Family Wales publishes report on cinema provisionOur team in Wales has published a report calling for cinemas to form partnerships with parent support groups and charities to improve cinema access for families of disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-wales-publishes-report-on-cinema-provision/Two years on from the special educational needs (SEN) reformsToday marks two years since the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014: the law which introduced major changes to the way children and young people with special educational needs are supported in education in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/two-years-on-from-the-special-educational-needs-(sen)-reforms/Top tips for starting schoolIn this article, our education adviser Jill Davies shares her top tips for starting school - whether a new one or for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/top-tips-for-starting-school/Super cyclist Stephen takes on epic challenge for Contact a FamilyOur wonderful supporter Stephen Kingdom - a die hard Crystal Palace FC fan and passionate cyclist - has taken on a huge challenge to raise money to help us support families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/supporter-combines-football-and-pedal-power-for-contact-a-family/Join one of our exciting events in OctoberNext month is the month for all adventurous runners out there. We have a really exciting range of events taking place and we would love to have you on board our team! http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-one-of-our-exciting-events-in-october/New ministers - who's who?The English Parliament came back from summer break this week. Since Brexit and the change of prime minister, there have been new ministers appointed to lead areas relating to families with disabled children. In this article we summarise some of the names you might come across.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-ministers-whos-who/Good luck to our Thames Path ChallengersTomorrow our brave team of 19 Thames Path Challengers will be taking off from Bishop's Park in Putney to complete various distances and to make a huge difference to families with disabled children in the UK!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/good-luck-to-our-thames-path-challengers!/Super cyclist congratulated by Middlesbrough Football Club for herculean fundraising effortsFormidable fundraiser Stephen Kingdom was presented with a signed football shirt by Middlesbrough Football Club this weekend after cycling a whopping 301 miles to the ground to raise money for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/super-cyclist-congratulated-by-middlesbrough-football-club-for-herculean-fundraising-efforts/Congratulations to our amazing Thames Path Challenge TeamOur intrepid team of walkers (and one Ulta Marathon runner) completed the Thames Path Challenge last weekend and we couldn’t be more proud of all their fantastic efforts!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-amazing-thames-path-challenge-team/Team GB's golden cycling duo back Cycling the Season fundraiserOlympic medal-winners Laura Trott and Jason Kenny have sent their good wishes to diehard Crystal Palace FC fan Stephen Kingdom, who is cycling to every single home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Familyhttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/team-gbs-golden-cycling-duo-back-cycling-the-season-fundraiser/Nominate your unsung heroes in the first ever Contact a Family AwardsThis autumn we want your nominations for our first ever Contact a Family Awards to help us shout about and celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for a disabled child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nominate-your-unsung-heroes-in-the-first-ever-contact-a-family-awards/Claim Disability Living Allowance to beat the benefit capOver the next ten days the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to all those families who are going to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap in November. These letters will be sent out between 19 and 29 September. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/claim-disability-living-allowance-to-beat-the-benefit-cap/Contact a Family chief executive talks school transport on 5 liveContact a Family Chief Executive Amanda Batten appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live today to talk about home to school transport and the challenges facing families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-chief-executive-talks-school-transport-on-5-live/Cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom breaks 1,000 mile barrier Our fundraising champion Stephen Kingdom passed the 1,000 mile barrier this week in his season-long challenge to cycle to every home and away game of his beloved Crystal Palace football club.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-cycling-superstar-breaks-4000-barrier-1000-miles-in/Contact a Family policy head supports launch of Premier League disability programmeThis morning our Head of Policy & Public Affairs Una Summerson supported the launch of a BT and Premier League initiative that aims to inspire disabled people through sport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-policy-head-supports-launch-of-premier-league-disability-programme/Nominate a super sibling in the Contact a Family awardsThis autumn we want your nominations for our first ever Contact a Family Awards to help us shout about and celebrate the countless things UK families do when caring for a disabled child. Shine a well-deserved spotlight on families with disabled children by nominating friends, family members or yourself in one or more of the six Contact a Family Award categories by 31st October.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nominate-a-super-sibling-in-the-contact-a-family-awards/Cycling the Season challenge reaches Liverpool Cycling wonder Stephen Kingdom has been at it again, pedalling hundreds of miles to watch football and raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cycling-the-season-challenge-reaches-liverpool/Government to scrap ESA reassessments for those with lifelong severe conditionsWork and Pensions Secretary Damian Green has now announced that the government will abolish ESA reassessments for those with life-long severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-to-scrap-esa-reassessments-for-those-with-lifelong-severe-conditions/Big or small – tell us what your child’s done to make you burst with prideIf you care for a disabled child who's done something - big or small - that's made you beam with pride, why not tell us about it and nominate them in the Proudest Moment category of our first ever Contact a Family awards?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/big-or-small-–-tell-us-what-your-childs-done-to-make-you-burst-with-pride/Are you looking for a challenge? Run the Virgin London Marathon for us!Join our Contact a Family team and make a huge difference to thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-looking-for-a-challenge-run-the-virgin-london-marathon-for-us!/Our hospitals and hospices project helps families in needBased in Birmingham Children's Hospital, Great North Children's Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children (GOSH) and the Evelina London's Children's Hospital, our hospitals and hospices project places expert parent advisers at the first port of call.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-hospitals-and-hospices-project-helps-families-in-need/Nominate a Family Champion in the Contact a Family awardsOur Family Champion award is for professionals, politicians or other government officials who've gone that extra mile to champion the causes of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nominate-a-family-champion-in-the-contact-a-family-awards/How do I find reliable medical information online? Our tips for navigating the internetViewers of Coronation Street will recently have seen expectant dad Steve find out that he might have a condition called Myotonic Dystrophy. One aspect of the story many parents will relate to is Steve’s difficulty finding reliable medical information on the internet. A nurse helps him find a reputable website as he becomes overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on the web.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-do-i-find-reliable-medical-information-online-our-tips-for-navigating-the-internet/Extra Costs Commission highlights the extra costs of disabilityThe Extra Costs Commission - an independent inquiry into the extra costs faced by disabled people and their families - has made recommendations for disabled people, organisations, businesses, regulators and government to help drive down the additional costs of disability.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/extra-costs-commission-highlights-the-extra-costs-of-disability/Contact a Family's cycling champ is halfway thereContact a Family's cycling champ Stephen Kingdom is almost halfway to meeting his fundraising target of at least £10k for families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-familys-cycling-champ-nears-2000-mile-barrier/Help for parents around education in EnglandAs you may know our helpline has a dedicated education advice team for parents to call about any aspect of getting extra help for their child in education. They have put together a helpful series of factsheets explaining the different levels of support in school for children who have special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-for-parents-around-education-in-england/Tell the health secretary to prioritise mental health supportWe're asking you to sign our letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for improved access to mental health support for disabled children and young people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/tell-the-health-secretary-to-prioritise-mental-heath-support/Let’s Participate – National event demonstrates that parent participation is going from strength to strengthParent carer forums from across England met to discuss ‘What’s Next for Participation?’ at an event organised by Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums today. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/lets-participate-–-national-event-demonstrates-that-parent-participation-is-going-from-strength-to-strength/Can you help us improve our advice service?Have you called our helpline recently? Do you use our website to find advice on caring for your child? Are you an active member of our Facebook community? If the answer is yes, we'd like to hear from you. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/we-want-your-thoughts-on-improving-our-advice-service/Our campaign call as parliament debates National Living WageAs parliament debates the National Living Wage today, Thursday 3 November, we're calling for the chancellor to ensure Carer's Allowance earnings threshold is increased in line with the National Living Wage so families with disabled children don't lose out on vital support.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-campaign-call-as-parliament-debates-national-living-wage/The government wants your views on benefit exemption rulesThe government is asking for your views on which groups should be exempt from plans to limit the child element in tax credits and universal credit to two children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-government-wants-your-views-on-benefit-exemption-rules/88,000 households affected by lowering of benefit cap today On Monday 7 November 2016, the household benefit cap is being lowered from £500 per week to £442 in London and to £385 elsewhere. An extra 88,000 households are expected to be affected by this lower cap.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/88000-households-affected-by-lowering-of-benefit-cap-today/Cycling champ receives hero's welcome from North West teamOur cycling champ Stephen Kingdom's 260 mile ride to Burnley this weekend ended with a hero's welcome from our North West team.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cycling-champ-receives-heros-welcome-from-north-west-team/Samantha and David Cameron show continued support to Contact a Family Samantha and David Cameron met with parents of disabled children at the Savile Club this morning to show their continued support for our work.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/samantha-and-david-cameron-show-continued-support-to-contact-a-family/Disabled children among those revealed as living in poverty in some parts of the UK Today the End Child Poverty coalition - which Contact a Family is a member of - has published new figures providing a new Child Poverty map of the UK. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-among-those-revealed-as-living-in-poverty-in-some-parts-of-the-uk/Supreme Court upholds Rutherford challenge on bedroom taxToday the Supreme Court has dismissed the government’s appeal against the Rutherford family’s successful challenge to the bedroom tax in the Court of Appeal.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/supreme-court-upholds-rutherford-challenge-on-bedroom-tax/MPS debate mental health as we call for greater focusLast week we launched our new campaign aimed at ending the wait for mental health support for families with disabled children and young people. Almost 1,700 of you have pledged support for our campaign by signing a letter to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt MP. Can you help us get to 2,000 signatures?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mental-health-campaign/Could you do something fantastic this Christmas?With Christmas only a few weeks away, why not consider one of our fundraising events to help you get into the Christmas spirit?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/could-you-do-something-fantastic-this-christmas/Use your Power For Good this Anti-Bullying weekThis week, 14-18 November, is Anti-Bullying Week, and we're joining the Anti-Bullying Alliance in supporting parents, children and teachers to use their Power For Good to put an end to bullying.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/use-your-power-for-good-this-anti-bullying-week/Contact a Family calls for government to stop ESA cuts As parliament debates cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit today, Contact a Family and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is calling for MPs to speak out against £30 a week being taken away from sick and disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calls-for-government-to-stop-esa-cuts/More Universal Credit roll outs this AutumnThis Autumn the full Universal Credit 'digital service' is being extended to new job centre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/more-universal-credit-roll-outs-this-autumn/Is your child nearly 16? Read our new guide for parents, Personal Independence Payment and other benefits at 16You have probably heard quite a bit about Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the new benefit for young people and adults aged 16-64 that is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Now our expert advisers have written a comprehensive guide to the new benefit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/is-your-child-nearly-16-read-our-new-guide-for-parents-personal-independence-payment-and-other-benefits-at-16/Autumn Statement: Contact a Family's responseUna Summerson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Contact a Family, said: “Today’s Autumn Statement unfortunately does not offer much in the way of support for struggling families with disabled children."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/autumn-statement-contact-a-familys-response/Our education helpline handles a staggering 19,000 enquiries in its first 5 yearsToday the special educational needs (SEN) team on our helpline celebrates five years of helping parents navigate the SEN system of support in school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-education-helpline-handles-a-staggering-19000-enquiries-in-its-first-5-years/What kind of fundraising activity appeals to you?We’d be really grateful if you could take 10 minutes to answer some short questions about our fundraising activities. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/what-kind-of-fundraising-activity-appeals-to-you/Contact a Family calling for compensation fund for families with disabled children who have missed out on tax credit extra paymentsContact a Family is calling for a compensation fund for families with disabled children who have missed out on tax credits due to a government administrative issue.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-calling-for-compensation-fund-for-families-with-disabled-children-who-have-missed-out-on-tax-credit-extra-payments/Benefits of Carer's Allowance earnings limit increase cancelled out by rise in National Living WageThe earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance will be increased to £116 per week from April 2017. While this will be good news for some carers, for others who work 16 hours or more per week, the increase will be of little or no benefit. This is because the National Living Wage will also be increased to £7.50 per hour from April 2017.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/benefits-of-carers-allowance-earnings-limit-increase-cancelled-out-by-rise-in-national-living-wage/ Be amazed by some of our key achievements in 2015/2016Today we've published our Annual Review 2015/16 [PDF] as our trustees meet for the Contact a Family AGM.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/be-amazed-by-some-of-our-key-achievements-in-20152016/33% of families go without heating - how you can get the bills downOur Counting the Costs campaign found that of 3,500 surveyed families, 33 per cent are going without heating, and 36 per cent have needed to take out a loan to pay their heating bills. Of those families who have taken out a loan, 65 per cent have fallen behind.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/33-of-families-go-without-heating-how-you-can-get-the-bills-down/4,000 low income families with disabled children hit by Welsh Government cutsToday alongside Carers Wales and Learning Disability Wales we're calling for the Welsh Government to rethink its decision to make £5.5 million of funding cuts that provides vital grants to low income families with severely ill or disabled children in Wales.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/4000-low-income-families-with-disabled-children-hit-by-welsh-government-cuts/Do you need help with your child’s behaviour?There are many reasons disabled children exhibit behaviour that challenges, and there are often complex reasons behind a child’s behaviour. Our newly updated guide for parents, Understanding your child’s behaviour why children behave in different ways.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/do-you-need-help-with-your-childs-behaviour/Our Connected Autumn/Winter 2016 magazine is out now Our Connected Autumn/Winter 2016 magazine [PDF] is now available to download or order. We celebrate parents’ and young people’s achievements – no matter how big or small. To give you a sneak peak we’re sharing a story from the latest edition.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-connected-autumnwinter-2016-magazine-is-out-now/Our cycling star meets football icons after latest long haul ride Our cycling champ Stephen Kingdom's fifteenth ride of the season ended pitchside at Hull City alongside two of the club's former players, Dean Windass and Bryan Hughes. Diehard Crystal Palace FC fan Stephen is cycling to every single home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-cycling-star-meets-football-icons-after-latest-long-haul-ride/Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is extending in Northern IrelandFrom today, Monday 12 December, the Northern Ireland government is starting to invite Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants aged 16-64 with a long-term or indefinite award of DLA to consider claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/personal-independence-payment-(pip)-is-extending-in-northern-ireland/Wales government plans new system for children with additional needs in educationThe Welsh government is making changes to the way children with additional needs are supported throughout their education. The Children, Young People and Education Committee is carrying out a consultation on the general principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/wales-government-plans-new-system-for-children-with-additional-needs-in-education/How does the tax credit 'disabled child element' affect housing benefit?The recent news that 28,000 families are to receive extra child tax credit has prompted questions from parents about the effect these extra payments might have on other ‘means-tested’ benefits.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-does-the-tax-credit-disabled-child-element-affect-housing-benefit/Christmas opening hours for our advice helplineOur helpline will be closed from 5pm on Friday 23 December and then will re-open on 3 January at the usual time of 9.30am. If you need to speak to someone when the helpline is closed over Christmas, these contacts may be helpful.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/christmas-opening-hours-for-our-advice-helpline/Department for Education announces £40m special education funding The Department for Education (DfE) has announced £40m of new funding to local authorities, for 2017-2018, to continue to support transition to the new system for special education needs (SEN) in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/department-for-education-announces-40m-special-education-funding/Happy Christmas from everyone at Contact a FamilyWe want to say a big thank you and Happy Christmas to all the families we've been in touch with over the last year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/happy-christmas-from-everyone-at-contact-a-family-(1)/Shape the next big campaign for disabled childrenIn August we announced that Contact a Family is chairing an exciting new collaboration between 25 disability and children's charities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/help-shape-the-disabled-childrens-partnerships-campaign-goals/New Year’s Honour for Parent Carer Participation LeaderSherann Hillman, Co-chair of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), has been awarded an MBE for her services to disabled children by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-years-honour-for-parent-carer-participation-leader/NICE publishes new quality standard on 'Transition from children's to adult's services'On 21st December 2016, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published quality standard for ‘Transition from children’s to adult’s services’. The standards are welcomes by Contact a Family and set out five ‘quality statements’ which indicate high quality care for young people transitioning from children’s to adults’ health or social care services http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/nice-publishes-new-quality-standard-on-transition-from-childrens-to-adults-services/There’s no stopping our fantastic fundraiser Cycling the SeasonOur superstar fundraiser Stephen Kingdom has been at it again. This weekend he cycled around 400 miles to and from Bolton Wanderers FC for their FA Cup clash with Stephen’s beloved Crystal Palace FC.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/theres-no-stopping-our-fantastic-fundraiser-cycling-the-season/DfE funding for parent forums and Contact a Family helplineEdward Timpson MP, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families has announced the government will continue to fund parent forums with a grant of £2.3 million. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/department-for-education-announces-continued-funding-for-parent-forums-in-england/Contact a Family Awards finalists announcedWe are very excited to announce the finalists for Contact a Family’s first ever Awards. We had over 100 nominations to the awards and the judging panel were often moved to tears reading about the wonderful things families do for each other, and what they have achieved. So thank you to everyone who nominated. We think that you are all amazing and to show that we will be sending a certificate to all those who have been nominated shortly. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-awards-finalists-announced/Share your views on residential special schools and collegesThe government has launched a call for evidence to learn more about the educational experiences and outcomes of children and young people attending residential special schools and colleges.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/share-your-views-on-residential-special-schools-and-colleges/Announcing the winners of our inaugural Contact a Family awardsWe're delighted to share with you the winners of our very first Contact a Family awards.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/announcing-the-winners-of-our-inaugural-contact-a-family-awards/Lenehan review calls for better communication with families of children with complex mental health needsThe Department of Health has published a report calling for urgent action to prevent children with challenging behaviour and complex mental health needs being institutionalised at an early age.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/lenehan-review-calls-for-better-communication-with-families-of-children-with-complex-mental-health-needs/Missed out on the disability element of child tax credit between 2011 and 2016?In its Autumn statement, the government announced that 28,000 families were missing out on extra tax credits as a result of a breakdown in communication between the Disability Living Allowance Unit and the Tax Credits Office.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/missed-out-on-the-disability-element-of-child-tax-credit-between-2011-and-2016/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas throughout FebruaryDuring February the Universal Credit full service will be extended to families with disabled children in a further five job centre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-throughout-february/Childcare leaving families with disabled children in the darkA new report from the Family and Childcare Trust finds that local authorities are not providing the information families with disabled children need to access childcare.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/childcare-leaving-families-with-disabled-children-in-the-dark/99 per cent of our helpline users satisfied with our adviceWe want to say thank you to everyone who completed our helpline and online services survey in March. 99 per cent of users of our freephone helpline said that they were satisfied/very satisfied with the advice we provided. This was the same result as our last survey in November, so we're happy to know we're still a vital support for many families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/99-per-cent-of-our-helpline-users-satisfied-with-our-advice/Consultation on employment for disabled peopleAt our recent Awards ceremony at Speaker’s House, one of the things the Minister for Disabled People, Penny Mordaunt MP, spoke about was the governments Green Paper focused on employment for disabled people.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/consultation-on-employment-for-disabled-people/Join our campaign to improve school transportToday we launch our biggest inquiry into school transport for disabled children, and we want to hear from you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-campaign-to-improve-school-transport/Cycling star nears fundraising target Our cycling star Stephen Kingdom's passed the season's halfway mark but his fundraising efforts are racing ahead.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cycling-star-nears-fundraising-target/Funding boost for Northern Ireland families around moving into adulthoodContact a Family Northern Ireland and Carers NI are delighted to have received funding to identify the best ways to support families with disabled children moving into adulthood.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/funding-boost-for-northern-ireland-families-around-moving-into-adulthood/Busting the top school transport mythsIn this article we bust some of the top myths around home to school transport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/busting-the-top-school-transport-myths-(england)/Contact a Family featured on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour's caring seriesOur family support manager Rosie Noble and trustee Nakita Singh featured on today’s BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in a piece focusing on the ups and downs of caring for disabled child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-featured-on-radio-4-womans-hours-caring-series/Football stars get behind our cycling hero's epic challengeThe stars of Crystal Palace football team took time out after training to show their support for Stephen Kingdom, the diehard fan who is cycling to every Eagles home and away game this season to raise money for Contact a Family.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/football-stars-get-behind-our-cycling-heros-epic-challenge/Government announces change to Personal Independence Payment entitlement rules Contact a Family is extremely concerned about planned changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) criteria rules.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-announces-surprise-change-to-pip-entitlement-rules/We’re celebrating Rare Disease Day 2017 todayToday is Rare Disease Day 2017, the tenth international event held each year on the last day of February. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives. In this article, we share an inspirational story from a little boy with a rare condition, and we explain how we support families with children with rare conditions.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/were-celebrating-rare-disease-day-2017-today/Government announces £215m funding to improve special education facilitiesMinister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson has announced £215m funding for local councils in England to create more school places and improve facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-announces-215m-funding-to-improve-special-education-facilities/Government confirms it’s scrapping housing payments for some 18-21 year oldsThe government has published new rules confirming that some 18-21 year olds who claim Universal Credit will no longer get payments towards their housing costs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-confirms-its-scrapping-housing-payments-for-some-18-21-year-olds/Spring budget 2017: Contact a Family concerned about school transport plansIn today’s budget the government has announced extra money for school transport for children from low income families who attend grammar schools. Amanda Batten Chief Executive of Contact a Family, said: “Against a backdrop of cuts to school transport for disabled children, we are concerned that the government has prioritised children in grammar schools for free school transport."http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/budget-2017-contact-a-family-concerned-about-school-transport-plans/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas throughout March, from todayDuring March the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in a further five job centre areas, starting today, 8 March, with the Hinkley jobcentre.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-throughout-march-from-today/"School transport is the straw that breaks the camel's back" - A report from our parliamentary hearingLast month we launched a school transport inquiry to find out what the situation is across the country for families with disabled children. As part of the inquiry, this week we held a parliamentary hearing at the House of Commons, chaired by Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/school-transport-is-the-straw-that-breaks-the-camels-back-a-report-from-our-parliamentary-hearing/Bedroom tax changes – new rules are confirmed The government is finally changing the bedroom tax rules to bring them into line with the Supreme Court judgement in the Rutherford case. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/bedroom-tax-changes-–-new-rules-are-confirmed/Welsh Government won't reconsider funding cuts Contact a Family Cymru, Carers Wales and Learning Disability Wales would like to thank all the families who contacted their assembly members (AMs) to back over 4,000 low income families with disabled children during the debate on Wednesday 8 March.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/welsh-government-wont-reconsider-funding-cuts/New council tax bill? Make sure you don’t miss out on help The past month has seen millions of families across the UK receive their new council tax bill for the coming year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-council-tax-bill-make-sure-you-dont-miss-out-on-help/Home to school transport featured on BBC Breakfast tomorrowLook out for a piece about home to school transport on BBC Breakfast tomorrow morning.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/home-to-school-transport-featured-on-bbc-breakfast-tomorrow/Urgent action needed to turn the tide on child povertyNew figures published today show that child poverty now stands at the highest level since 2009/10, with 4 million children in the UK now living in relative poverty increased.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/urgent-action-needed-to-turn-the-tide-on-child-poverty/Unprecedented coalition of UK charities unite to tackle inequality for disabled children and their families Contact a Family’s chief executive Amanda Batten appeared on BBC 2’s Victoria Derbyshire show this morning to launch a brand new coalition of leading charities fighting for better health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/unprecedented-coalition-of-uk-charities-unite-to-tackle-inequality-for-disabled-children-and-their-families/Many carers won’t benefit from increase in Carer’s Allowance earning limitCarer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. You can still get it even if you are working, so long as your earnings are no more than a weekly amount known as ‘the earnings limit’. From April 2017 the earnings limit will be going up to £116 per week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/many-carers-wont-benefit-from-increase-in-carers-allowance-earning-limit/Contact a Family Wales funding means more outdoor family adventures We are delighted to announce that Contact a Family Wales/Cymru has been awarded a three-year grant of £32,592 from BBC Children in Need.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-wales-funding-means-more-outdoor-family-adventures/Report into children’s social care in England published todayThe All Party Parliamentary Group for Children has published the findings of its inquiry of into children’s social care in England today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/report-into-childrens-social-care-in-england-published-today/Your views on exclusions needed Last week, the Department for Education launched a consultation on changes to the statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils in England.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/your-views-on-exclusions-needed/Share your thoughts on support for children with speech, language and communication needsCharity I CAN in partnership with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists wants to hear about the support and services you’ve been offered for your child’s difficulty with speech and language.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/share-your-thoughts-on-support-for-children-with-speech-language-and-communication-needs/New website to help parents find available government funded childcareThe government has launched a new website to help parents find all the government funded childcare offers, including the two new offers: 30 hours free childcare and Tax Free Childcare. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-website-to-help-parents-find-available-government-funded-childcare/Implementing the UK Strategy for Rare DiseasesA debate is being held in Westminster later today to discuss the implementation of the UK’s Strategy for Rare Diseases.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/implementing-the-uk-strategy-for-rare-diseases/Rare disease implementation plan for England announcedYesterday we told you about a Westminster debate to discuss the implementation of the UK's Strategy for Rare Diseases. We’re delighted to let you know that during yesterday’s debate, Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne MP announced that NHS England will develop an implementation plan for the commitments outlined in the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases by the end of the year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/rare-disease-implementation-plan-for-england-announced/Contact a Family concerned about impact of proposed school funding formula on children with SENContact a Family is concerned that proposed changes to school funding, which will see some areas with largely reduced budgets, could mean that there is less money in the system for children with special educational needs (SEN).http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-concerned-about-impact-of-proposed-school-funding-formula-on-children-with-sen/Disability and poverty in the news Look out for parent Chantal, and Contact a Family's CEO, Amanda Batten, on the BBC 6 o'clock news tonight talking about why families with disabled children are more likely to be living in poverty.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disability-and-poverty-in-the-news/Report highlights continued barriers for disabled people and their families despite laws to protect their rightsThe Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report: ‘Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal’, the most comprehensive analysis ever on how the rights of disabled people are protected in Great Britain.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/report-highlights-continued-barriers-for-disabled-people-and-their-families-despite-laws-to-protect-their-rights/ Cuts to Employment and Support Allowance introduced this week From this week (Monday 3 April) the government is introducing cuts to Employment and Support Allowance that will see some new claimants miss out on up to £2,301 per year.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cuts-to-employment-and-support-allowance-introduced-this-week/Changes to bereavement benefits from tomorrowFrom tomorrow (6 April) the current system of bereavement benefits is being replaced by a new bereavement support allowance (BSA). BSA will be time-limited to only 18 months, and it is expected that three quarters of newly bereaved parents will receive less help from BSA than under the existing system.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/changes-to-bereavement-benefits-from-tomorrow/Government limits tax credits and Universal Credit payments to first two children From today, Thursday 6 April, new rules mean that families who already have two dependent children will not receive an extra amount if they have another baby.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-limits-tax-credits-and-universal-credit-payments-to-first-two-children/Our cycling champ smashes target with boost from football starsCongratulations to our cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom, who's now smashed his £10k fundraising target with two months of his Cycling the Season challenge remaining.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-cycling-champ-smashes-target-with-boost-from-football-stars/Report shows council cuts to social care - join the Disabled Children's PartnershipThe Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a new report showing that one in ten councils have cut adult social care by more than a quarter.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/report-shows-council-cuts-to-social-care-join-the-disabled-childrens-partnership/Thanks to the 1000s who joined our school transport campaign - here's what's nextSchool transport is one of the top issues our helpline gets calls about. So when we launched the call for evidence as part of our biggest every inquiry into school transport for disabled children, we knew we would get a good response.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/thanks-to-the-1000s-who-joined-our-school-transport-campaign-heres-whats-next/Contact a Family secures funding to boost families’ knowledge of early year entitlements Contact a Family has successfully secured over £360,000 from the Department for Education to help parent carers understand more about how they can access quality childcare for their disabled child from nurseries and childminders.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-secures-funding-to-boost-families-knowledge-of-early-year-entitlements/Parent adviser Dawn takes on a triple challenge This year, one of our amazing parent advisers, Dawn Stilwell, is truly going the extra mile to help us continue our work supporting families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/parent-adviser-dawn-takes-on-a-triple-challenge/Helpline closure over Easter and our new holidays guideOur freephone helpline will be closed over the Easter period. If you need advice and support while we're closed, don't forget we have lots of information on our website on a range of issues to do with caring for a disabled child. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/helpline-closure-over-easter-and-our-new-holidays-guide/Get your free guide to benefits changesThis April has seen the government introduce a large number of changes to the benefits and tax credits system, many of which will impact on families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-your-free-guide-to-benefits-changes/Introducing our brand new online community – sign up today!We’re delighted to welcome you to our online community, a brand new space where you can connect with families like yours.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/introducing-our-brand-new-online-community-–-sign-up-today/Dinosaur Day is back this June so go dino and donate!On Monday 19 June, our annual Dinosaur Day fundraiser is back. Hold a cake sale with a prehistoric or Dinosaur theme, organise a Dinosaur dress down day at school, or sponsor your boss to wear a Dinosaur mask for the day. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dinosaur-day-is-back-this-june-so-go-dino-and-donate!/Unhappy with your child's primary school place? We're here to helpWe know that some families will be disappointed if their child did not get the school they wanted. If you are in this situation it may help to know that there are steps you can takehttp://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/unhappy-with-your-childs-primary-school-place-were-here-to-help/Congratulations to our amazing London Marathon runners!Last Sunday, our incredible 15 runners took to the streets of London to represent Contact a Family at the Virgin London Marathon.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-amazing-london-marathon-runners!/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas from todayFrom today, April 26, the the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in those parts of Lancashire covered by the Oldham jobcentre. Then during May it will be rolled out to the job centres in Bedford, Dover, Burnley, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Chippenham.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-from-today/Our head of campaigns pays tribute to childcare campaigner Stacie LewisIn this article, our head of campaigns Una Summerson pays tribute to an inspirational childcare campaigner.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-head-of-campaigns-pays-tribute-to-childcare-campaigner-stacie-lewis/"Suddenly I had a family that stretched around the globe" - Sally blogs about meeting parents onlineWe recently launched our new online community, a brand new space where you can connect with families like yours. Mum Sally helped us get the community started, and here she tell us why meeting other parents online was so valuable to her.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/suddenly-i-had-a-family-that-stretched-around-the-globe-sally-blogs-about-meeting-parents-online/Introducing our birth to five parenting workshopsEarlier this month we announced that we'd been awarded over £360,000 to develop workshops to help parent carers understand more about how they can access quality childcare for their disabled child from nurseries and childminders. You can now see where our first raft of workshops will be running.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/introducing-our-birth-to-five-parenting-workshops/New tax-free childcare scheme starts today Today, Friday 28 April, sees the introduction of a new tax-free childcare scheme for working families. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/new-tax-free-childcare-scheme-starts-today/Where do you find support, advice and community online?There is loads of support and medical advice online these days and, for many people, online is where we go first when we have a question. Many parents also join online communities on Facebook or other social media sites to connect with each other.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/where-do-you-find-support-advice-and-community-online/Shape the next big health and social care campaign We need you to shape our campaign. We want to understand more about the day-to-day lives of disabled children, young people and their families, so we're asking you to take part in the biggest ever poll of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/shape-the-next-big-health-and-social-care-campaign/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areasThis May the Universal Credit full service is being extended to families with disabled children in more parts of the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas/Join our Universal Credit #KnowYourClaim campaign Today we're launching our Universal Credit campaign #KnowYourClaim.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-universal-credit-knowyourclaim-campaign/Our response to school exclusions consultationLast month, we responded to the government consultation on changes to the statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils in England. The statutory guidance sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-response-to-school-exclusions-consultation/Children and Social Work Bill receives royal assentAt the end of last month the Children and Social Work Bill was one of 22 bills to receive royal assent before the dissolution of parliament ahead of June's general election.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/children-and-social-work-bill-receives-royal-assent/Our 7,000 mile cycling hero rewarded with team success Our cycling superstar Stephen Kingdom has expressed joy and relief that his beloved Crystal Palace are staying in the Premier League after cycling 7,000 miles to games this season as part of his epic Cycling the Season challenge.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-7000-mile-cycling-hero-rewarded-with-team-success/Join a parent advisory group for challenging behaviour projectAre you interested in joining a parent advisory group for a pioneering new project about challenging behaviour support for parents with young disabled children?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-a-parent-advisory-group-for-challenging-behaviour-project/Listen to our new podcast, How to claim Universal CreditWe've made a series of Universal Credit podcasts, and today we're sharing "How to claim Universal Credit." In this podcast, our parent adviser Nicos explains how to claim Universal Credit, the new benefit being rolled out across the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/listen-to-our-new-podcast-how-to-claim-universal-credit/Join us for a night of new writing fundraiser this FridayJoin us this Friday for a night of theatre and raise money for a great cause at the same time!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-us-for-a-night-of-new-writing-fundraiser-this-friday/What is the Universal Credit 'claimant commitment'?We've made a series of Universal Credit podcasts, in the first answering What is Universal Credit? and in the second explaining How to claim Universal Credit. In our third podcast, our parent adviser Nicos explains the document called 'a claimant commitment', which sets out what you need to do to get Universal Credit.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/what-is-the-universal-credit-claimant-commitment/Order your free copies of our new Universal Credit factsheetsWe've published two new Universal Credit factsheets to help you understand the new benefit being rolled out across the country. Download them today or order a free printed copy from our helpline.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/order-your-free-copies-of-our-new-universal-credit-factsheets/Join the Don't Quit, Do It campaign and make sport accessible to all Our partners Irwin Mitchell are asking you to join their Don't Quit, Do It campaign and make a single pledge to promote disability in sport.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-the-dont-quit-do-it-campaign-and-make-sport-accessible-to-all/Government confirms dates for Universal Credit full service expansion over the summer. The government has now confirmed that there will be a major expansion of the Universal Credit full service to during the summer involving many more job centres.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-confirms-dates-for-universal-credit-full-service-expansion-over-the-summer/#KnowYourClaim - a roundup of our Universal Credit monthHere's a roundup of our Universal Credit resources to help you understand the new benefit being rolled out across the country.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/knowyourclaim-a-roundup-of-our-universal-credit-month/Roar for Dinosaur Day on 19th JuneIt is just 11 days until Dinosaur Day on 19 June. Dinosaur Day is a great chance for you to raise awareness of the challenges faced by families with disabled children and to raise funds for the vital support that Contact a Family can offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/roar-for-dinosaur-day-on-19th-june/PM: Stop Universal Credit cutsWe're calling on the Prime Minister to reverse cuts to child disability payments under Universal Credit. Join us by signing our petition today.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/pm-stop-universal-credit-cuts/Worse off under Universal Credit?Unfortunately some parents are being left much worse off as a result of having to claim Universal Credit, especially as a result of cuts to the child disability addition for children who do not get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care at the highest rate.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/worse-off-under-universal-credit/Contact a Family patron and ex deputy CEO awarded OBEContact a Family patron and former deputy chief executive, Paul Soames, has been given an OBE for services to children and families.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-patron-and-ex-deputy-ceo-awarded-obe/Our education expert's advice on school absenceThis month our parent adviser Lesley Black has been speaking to TheSchoolRun.com about what the law says about absence from school and how schools should support your absent child.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-education-experts-advice-on-school-absence/Mortgage support for benefit claimants being reduced from this week. The amount that benefit claimants receive to help meet their mortgage interest payments is reducing from this week.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mortgage-support-for-benefit-claimants-being-reduced-from-this-week/Contact a Family launches first menu of professional servicesWe're delighted to announced that for the first time we've launched a menu of services for professionals working with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-launches-first-menu-of-professional-services/Disabled children need your support today!We know that 43 per cent of the British public don’t know anyone who is disabled and that 97 per cent of parents with a disabled children do not believe the public understands the challenges they face every day. Our campaign, the Secret Life of Us – developed in close partnership with parents – looks to change this.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/disabled-children-need-your-support-today!/Huge thanks for a ROAR-some Dinosaur Day 2017On Monday 19th June, we celebrated Dinosaur Day with schools, nurseries, companies and community groups who went Dino for the day and helped us support thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/huge-thanks-for-a-roar-some-dinosaur-day-2017/Contact a Family on the Queen's Speech debateContact a Family CEO and Chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, which represents more than 45 UK charities and launched its new campaign this week, has commented on the Queen's speech.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-on-the-queens-speech-debate/Ministerial appointments since the election In light of the recent election, we welcome the opportunity to work with a number of newly-appointed ministers at the departments of Education, Work and Pensions, and Health. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/ministerial-appointments-since-the-election/Local authorities underspending discretionary housing payment budgetsThe Department of Work and Pensions has released statistics showing that 73 per cent of local authorities in England and Wales did not spend all the funding they got from central government for discretionary housing payments (DHP). http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/local-authorities-underspending-discretionary-housing-payment-budgets/Celebrating Cycling the SeasonOver 7,000 miles, 550 hours in the saddle, two wheel changes and a massive £17k raised for Contact a Family! Our phenomenal fundraiser Stephen Kingdom popped into Contact a Family’s City Road offices on Thursday 6th July so we could all say a big thank you and celebrate the completion of his epic cycling challenge with him.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/celebrating-cycling-the-season/Don’t forget to renew your tax credits by the end of JulyThe deadline for renewing tax credit claims is fast approaching. Read this article to find out what you need to do to make sure you continue to receive the financial support you're entitled to. HMRC also produce a short video explaining what you need to do to renew your claim. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-forget-to-renew-your-tax-credits-by-the-end-of-july/Contact a Family responds to school funding announcementOn Monday in parliament, the secretary of state, Justine Greening MP, made a series of announcements on school funding.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-responds-to-school-funding-announcement/Contact a Family and UCL launch first UK trial to investigate reducing challenging behaviour in pre-schoolersWe've joined forces with University College London (UCL) to launch a national clinical trial - the first of its kind in the UK - that aims to reduce behaviour that challenges in very young children with learning disabilities.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-a-family-and-ucl-launch-first-uk-trial-to-investigate-reducing-challenging-behaviour-in-pre-schoolers/Universal Credit full service rolled out to more areas this weekThis week sees the extension of the Universal Credit full service to families with disabled children in another 8 jobcentre areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-full-service-rolled-out-to-more-areas-this-week/Join our community with your own Facebook accountWe've added a new feature to our online community allowing you to login with your own Facebook account.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/join-our-community-with-your-own-facebook-account/Cycling novice Shirley takes on Tour de France challengeParent carer Shirley is taking on an epic cycling challenge to raise vital funds for other families with disabled children - but not before learning to ride a bike first!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/cycling-novice-shirley-takes-on-tour-de-france-challenge/Our new resources for bereaved parentsThe death of a child is a devastating loss, whatever the circumstances. We know that parents who've lost a child will be going through the most distressing time, and they will need help to deal with their situation. We've produced some new resources to support bereaved parents. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/our-new-resources-for-bereaved-parents/Looking for fun holiday ideas for your family?Contact a Family’s guide to holidays, play and leisure is packed full of useful information to help you plan to keep the kids occupied this summer holiday.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/looking-for-fun-holiday-ideas-for-your-family/Increase in number of pupils with special educational needsThe number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in England has increased to 1,244,255 according to the latest Department for Education figures released on Thursday 27 July.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/increase-in-number-of-pupils-with-special-educational-needs/Don’t miss out on new childcare offers If you qualify for 30 hours' free childcare, it is crucial in the weeks before September that you bring your eligibility codes to your childcare providers. If you don't, you may miss out on a September place.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/dont-miss-out-on-new-childcare-offers/Funding boost for Contact CymruWe are delighted to announce we have been granted funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation, a family-founded grant-making trust that has been supporting charities across the UK for over 50 years. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/funding-boost-for-contact-a-family-cymru/Schools out - act now to make sure your tax credits don’t stop for your 16-19 year oldIf you have a 16-19 year old who'll be staying in non-advanced education after the summer holidays, remember to let the Tax Credit Office know or you could lose out on tax credit payments. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/schools-out-act-now-to-make-sure-your-tax-credits-dont-stop-for-your-16-19-year-old/We’ve changed our name, look and feel to reach more families sooner!You may have noticed that our website looks and feels a little different today. That's because we've refreshed our brand and shortened our name to Contact. We've made these changes to help us reach more families with disabled children as soon as they need us and to highlight the wide variety of work we do.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/weve-changed-our-name-look-and-feel-to-reach-more-families-sooner!/Good luck to our amazing Great North Run supporters!The Great North Run, the world's largest half marathon, takes place this Sunday 10th September. We have five amazing runners who have been training and fundraising with all their might to help us continue supporting thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/good-luck-to-our-amazing-great-north-run-supporters!/Today we've secured a major campaign winToday we've secured a major campaign win. The Secretary of State for education has announced plans to review school transport statutory guidance to make sure all local authorities are providing school travel for eligible children with special educational needs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/today-weve-secured-a-major-campaign-win/Department for Education publishes latest forum SEND surveyThe Department for Education (DfE) has published its latest newsletter, including the headline figures from the Spring 2017 special educational needs and disability (SEND) implementation survey of local authorities and parent carer forums on the SEND reforms.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/department-for-education-publishes-latest-forum-send-survey/How our helpline is achieving childcare successFrom this September 2017, working families of three and four year olds in England are entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare. This is on top of the existing 15 hours of free early education for all parents of three and four year olds and some two year olds. The 30 hours free childcare offer is worth around £5,000 per child. We have produced a new webpage on eligibility for the new 30 hours free childcare offer.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/how-our-helpline-is-achieving-childcare-success/MPs call for halt in the roll out of Universal CreditFrank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, has said that fundamental flaws in Universal Credit must be resolved before the roll out of the full service continues.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/mps-call-for-halt-in-the-roll-out-of-universal-credit/Are you brave enough to be Styled by the Kids?We are launching a brand new fundraising initiative this October and we’d love you to join in the fun and help raise money for Contact at the same time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/are-you-brave-enough-to-be-styled-by-the-kids/Details of Scottish Young Carer Grant confirmed Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has confirmed details of a new grant for young carers at school.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/details-of-scottish-young-carer-grant-confirmed/Universal credit is extended to Northern Ireland Despite recent calls for the rollout of Universal Credit to be suspended, this week sees the introduction of Universal Credit to Northern Ireland for the first time.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-is-extended-to-northern-ireland/The day I made an appeal - a parent blogIn this parent blog, Rosalind tells the story of her appeal against her daughter's Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/the-day-i-made-an-appeal-a-parent-blog/Victory for families campaigning to save local short breaks service Campaigning families in Hertfordshire are celebrating as their local short breaks (respite) service has been saved from closure. The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) reversed its decision to cease funding. Whilst good news, the threat of closure caused families unnecessary worry. Sign our letter calling on the Government to review the funding and availability of short breaks services so that disputes like this don't arise in the first place. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/victory-for-families-campaigning-to-save-local-short-breaks-service/Get your disabled child vaccinated against the flu virus this winterDid you know that the flu vaccination is available to children with long-term health conditions and many who have a learning disability?http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/get-your-disabled-child-vaccinated-against-the-flu-virus-this-winter/Families with disabled children experience lengthy delays with Universal Credit payments leading to rent arrearsContact’s helpline is hearing from families with disabled children who are experiencing lengthy delays in getting Universal Credit payments leaving them in financial hardship and leading to rent arrears.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/families-with-disabled-children-experience-lengthy-delays-with-universal-credit-paym/George takes on the half marathon challenge - could you?This 15th October, our fantastic supporter George McGovern will be dusting off his running shoes to take part in the Birmingham Half Marathon to help us continue supporting thousands of families with disabled children.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/george-takes-on-the-half-marathon-challenge-could-you/It's here - our new "Helpful guide for families with disabled children"We're now excited to officially launch "The helpful guide for families with disabled children", our comprehensive companion for all parents about the many ways we can support you.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/its-here-our-new-helpful-guide-for-families-with-disabled-children/Congratulations to our super supporter Alex! Feeling inspired?On Sunday 17 September, 19 year old Alex Archer took part in the Bristol Half Marathon and raised money for Contact. So far she’s raised over £700!http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/congratulations-to-our-super-supporter-alex!-feeling-inspired/Universal Credit rolls out to more new areas from todayDespite widespread recent calls for the roll-out of universal credit to be suspended, today sees the universal credit full service extended to several new areas.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/universal-credit-rolls-out-to-more-new-areas-from-today/A night at the zoo!This summer over 100 of our families joined Contact staff and volunteers at Edinburgh zoo for a unique free magical evening of fun and entertainment. http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/a-night-at-the-zoo!/Contact CEO talks to BBC about 149% rise in reported hate crimes against childrenContact CEO and Disabled Children's Partnership Chair Amanda Batten yesterday appeared on BBC 5 Radio Live investigates to discuss the alarming rise in reported disability hate crime against children aged 16 and under.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/contact-ceo-talks-to-bbc-about-149-rise-in-reported-hate-crimes-against-children/Government reveals plans to lower energy billsThe government has published the Draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariffs Cap) Bill which will give energy regulator Ofgem the power to cap standard variable tariffs.http://contact.org.uk/news-and-media/government-reveals-plans-to-lower-energy-bills/